YouTube announces plan to combat propaganda

YouTube announces plan to combat propaganda
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YouTube announced Friday it will start flagging videos published by organizations that receive government funding. 

Viewers will be able to see labels on videos from government-funded outlets above the video's title on the page. 

“News is an important and growing vertical for us and we want to be sure to get it right, helping to grow news and support news publishers on YouTube in a responsible way,” YouTube News senior product manager Geoff Samek said.

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"This notice on publishers receiving public or government funding, though still in its early stages, not only carries forward our work in this area through 2017, but represents one of many more steps we will take throughout 2018 to improve how we deliver news content on YouTube." 

The move comes after online tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter received backlash on Capitol Hill for their handling of Russian propaganda in the 2016 presidential election. 

The social media giants have been criticized by lawmakers for not revealing the extent of Russian activity on their platform meant to influence the election.

Despite YouTube's efforts to combat the negative use of state media, U.S. broadcaster PBS has lashed out at the move. 

“Labeling PBS a 'publicly funded broadcaster' is both vague and misleading,” a PBS spokesman said in a statement to The Washington Post.

“PBS and its member stations receive a small percentage of funding from the federal government; the majority of funding comes from private donations. More importantly, PBS is an independent, private, not-for-profit corporation, not a state broadcaster. YouTube’s proposed labeling could wrongly imply that the government has influence over PBS content, which is prohibited by statute. If YouTube's intent is to create clarity and better understanding, this is a step in the wrong direction.”