YouTube Pledges $25 Million in News Grants to Fight False Information

YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan

The funding, part of a larger Google News Initiative, comes as YouTube cracks down on misinformation on its platform.

After months of drawing criticism over its promotion of conspiracy videos and misinformation, YouTube has unveiled a slate of new features to improve the news experience on its platform. 

The Google-owned streamer on Monday said that it has teamed with the four-month-old Google News Initiative to promote quality news videos.

As part of the effort, Google and YouTube are allocating $25 million in grant money to support global news organizations building video operations. The funding will be available across 20 markets and will be provided to newsrooms through an application process. 

YouTube has also established a working group with news organizations and experts to help it develop new product features, improve the news experience and tackle emerging challenges. Vox Media, Jovem Pan and India Today are the early members of the group. Further, YouTube plans to expand its news-support team, which provides best practices, training support, audience development and assistance with day-to-day operations.

"We believe quality journalism requires sustainable revenue streams and that we have a responsibility to support innovation in products and funding for news," chief product officer Neal Mohan wrote in a YouTube blog post outlining the news-specific initiatives. 

YouTube is also pledging to support authoritative news sources by providing previews of news articles in its search results in the hours after a major news event. In addition, the streamer is expanding its "Top News" feature at the top of search results and plans to showcase more local news results.

The streamer, which has 1.8 billion logged-in users every month, has come under fire over the last year for promoting conspiracy videos or videos with misinformation during breaking news events. The company has already taken steps to address those challenges by tweaking its search algorithm to promote trusted news sources and by pledging to expand its trust and safety teams.

In March, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki acknowledged that it can be hard to monitor content on such a large platform where new videos are constantly being added. She announced at the time that the company would provide more context around videos about conspiracy theories by linking to outside sources such as Wikipedia.