Starting today, visitors to YouTube will have a new and easier way to get more information about certain topics. Encyclopaedia Britannica will provide custom, fact-checked information on certain historical and scientific topics that have been subject to misinformation, and YouTube will link to this information from Britannica in searches and below videos about these topics.
An example of the coverage Britannica will provide includes a feature on the 2014 disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. YouTube is starting with a small number of topics, which will be displayed for users in the United States, and slowly rolling out this feature more broadly in the coming months.
In addition to Britannica’s in-depth coverage of the subject, YouTube users visiting http://www.britannica.com/ will get additional information developed specially for them. A link will take them to an easy-to-scan summary of what is known and not known on many topics, to help people understand the facts. The sections on “what is thought to have happened” and “questions that remain unanswered” are designed to engage the curious mind and give people a solid context for formulating reasonable hypotheses.
The YouTube partnership is just one of several recent initiatives by Britannica to help users cut through the Internet clutter and find reliable information. Last year, the company released an online channel called “Demystified.” These short articles provide engaging and revealing answers to commonly asked questions such as: What’s the difference between veins and arteries? How does the U.S. Electoral College work? Does listening to Mozart in the womb really make babies smarter?
Britannica Insights, introduced last month, is a free Chrome and Firefox browser extension that enables searchers to cut through the clutter of the Internet and find trusted and verified information at the top-right corner of their search results page.
“Britannica is working to surface credible information on its own and in partnership with others who are committed to making reliable information easier to find on the Internet and prevent knowledge dilution,” said Karthik Krishnan, global chief executive officer of the Britannica Group.
“We take a number of approaches to achieve the above goals. One is to make it easy for people to discover quality information; another, in this age of proactive misinformation, is to help dispel false information with facts. In a 24/7 world where people are constantly rushing from one activity to another it’s vital to get information to people where and when they need it so that it’s not only correct but useful. Our partnership with YouTube is a perfect example of our renewed focus to provide utility at the point of need.”
YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan agreed.
“We’re working to put more authoritative content in front of people coming to YouTube for news and to provide context to help people make their own decisions,” he said. “We want to give them ample choices in how they verify that information, and when it comes to credible sources Britannica is an obvious choice.”
Britannica, which marks its 250th anniversary this year, is redoubling its efforts to provide reliable information to people at a time when the need is more pressing than ever.
“Facts matter and truth matters,” said Krishnan, “and in a digital age that’s currently seeing a tsunami of proactive misinformation, truth needs a champion. Britannica remains committed to surfacing trusted and verified information and delivering on the founding vision from 1768.”