YouTube Cracks Down on Las Vegas Shooting Fake News in Search Results

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The video site has changed its search algorithm after it drew criticism for surfacing videos spreading misinformation about the Las Vegas shooting.

YouTube this week made changes to its search algorithm after several reports revealed that it was surfacing videos spreading misinformation in queries about the Las Vegas shooting. 

A YouTube spokeswoman confirmed the algorithm change, which will now give priority to videos that come from mainstream news outlets or other verified sources. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the change. 

Several technology giants, including Facebook and Google, have come under fire for spreading misinformation in the days following the mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 people and wounded hundreds of others. YouTube also surfaced videos supporting conspiracy theories in the days after the massacre.

According to reports from BuzzFeed and others, searches about the Las Vegas shooting or gunman Stephen Paddock returned results full of videos from unvetted news sources. A spokesperson told BuzzFeed at the time that users are encouraged to use its news page to access videos from trusted sources. 

YouTube has been working on changes to its search algorithm for some time, according to sources familiar with the company's product strategy, but released the update sooner than planned in response to criticism it has received in the last few days. The update is said to be a work in progress and may continue to change as needed.

A search using the keywords "Las Vegas shooting" on Friday morning resulted in videos from a range of mainstream media outlets, including ABC News, Vox Media, CBS News and USA Today. 

YouTube is the world's largest video site, with 1.5 billion users around the world and over one billion hours of video watched daily.