YouTube Is Testing Its Own Version of Community Notes


Oh, Elon Musk is going to love this.

Today, YouTube has announced a new option that will enable users to add their own notes on videos to provide “relevant, timely, and easy-to-understand context.”

YouTube Community Notes

In other words, Community Notes, YouTube is adding its own version of Community Notes, essentially the same as X, which will enable viewers to append their own contextual pointers to YouTube clips.

And the similarities don’t stop there.

As explained by YouTube:

“Notes will appear publicly under a video if they’re found to be broadly helpful. People will be asked whether they think a note is “helpful,” “somewhat helpful,” or “unhelpful” and why – for example, whether it cites high-quality sources or is written clearly and neutrally. From there, we’ll use a bridging-based algorithm to consider these ratings and determine what notes are published.”

So it is, in effect, the Community Notes system, on YouTube instead, which will enable the YouTube community to provide more context and qualification to claims made within YouTube clips.

Which Elon will no doubt see as a verification of his genius, even though he didn’t actually create Community Notes.

Community Notes was originally called “Birdwatch”, and had been an experimental project under previous Twitter management. But Elon immediately saw it as a way to reduce the need for paid moderation staff, as well as management interference on content, by essentially letting the user community decide what’s true and what’s not via the Notes system.

Community Notes has since become X’s primary defense against misinformation, as flawed as it may be in this context.

To be clear, YouTube is not looking to put as much reliance on its own notes option, instead using this as a supplementary element to facilitate more context on certain clips.

But it is, in essence, the exact same process as Community Notes, and it’ll be interesting to see how YouTube finds it as an addition to its existing moderation and information verification measures, to help police false reporting in the app.

YouTube says that the initial pilot of its Notes system will only be available on mobile in the U.S., and only in English to begin with.

“During this test phase, we anticipate that there will be mistakes – notes that aren’t a great match for the video, or potentially incorrect information – and that’s part of how we’ll learn from the experiment. Viewers, participants, and creators are invited to give us feedback on the quality of notes, and we’ll look at ways to improve over time, including whether it makes sense to expand the feature.”

It could be a good addition, and given that YouTube isn’t looking to replace its existing verification and checking tools with crowd-sourced checks, it could actually provide even more value in a YouTube context.

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