YouTube is set to create a section for displaying accurate videos about the coronavirus on its homepage.
According to the streaming platform, the new row of ‘verified’ videos is being added in an effort to prevent the flow of misinformation as news develops around the ongoing pandemic of novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
The new section will come in the form of a row on the home page and will aggregate content from news outlets and official health sources on the platform.
YouTube hopes it will help users steer clear of videos posted by everyday creators and potentially conspiracy theorists that may propagate false or misleading information.
Already conspiracies have started to proliferate on the platform including that the outbreak was caused by 5G radiation or that it started as a Chinese bioweapon.
The technique of boxing out videos, known as a shelf, has been used by the platform in the past to help promote legitimate information as world news events unfold.
Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Reddit published a statement on Monday saying that they are all working closely on response efforts.
The firms have said they are helping people stay connected during periods of self isolation, while also fighting misinformation that may appear on their platforms.
YouTube says its new format for promoting videos pertaining to COVID-19 will launch in 16 countries to begin with, including in the US, UK, Brazil, India, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan this week.
It also said that it plans to expand to more countries in the weeks ahead.
YouTube will join other tech companies in its effort to mitigate misinformation, including major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook says it has been limiting misinformation and harmful content about COVID-19, partly by banning ads ‘intended to create panic’ or take advantage of the pandemic to boost sales.
This includes banning ads that sell medical face masks on the site that advertise a limited supply or claim to offer complete protection against the virus.
The social network is also providing the World Health Organisation (WHO) with ‘as many free ads as it needs’ for its coronavirus response and funding relief efforts.
In addition, users who search ‘coronavirus’ on Facebook will see a pop-up at the top of search results, directing them to the WHO or local health authority for the latest information.
‘This is now a global challenge and we’ve spent the past month working with health authorities to coordinate our response,’ CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously said.