YouTube is modifying its search algorithms to prevent conspiracy theories and fake news videos from making it to the top of its search results, following outrage over the high visibility of videos spreading misinformation about the Las Vegas mass shooting, the Wall Street Journal reports.
On Wednesday, the very first result in a YouTube search for “Las Vegas shooting” was a video that claimed the gunshots came from the fourth floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, rather than the 32nd. The video showed images of a flashing light coming from a room on the lower floor, using it to advance a theory — ruled “false” by Snopes — that multiple shooters were involved in the massacre.
Other high-ranking videos suggested the attack was a false flag orchestrated to advance the gun control agenda, or that the attack may not have happened at all and that the victims were “actors.”
But as of Friday, the first page of search results for “Las Vegas shooting” yielded only results from reputable news organizations such as the BBC, CNN, the New York Times and the Guardian.
That’s because YouTube on Wednesday night began actively promoting more established sources in search results pertaining to the shooting as well as other major news events, the Journal reported, citing an unnamed source close to the video-sharing website.
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Some of the implicated videos have since been taken down from YouTube, but others remain on the site.
According to The Guardian, YouTube had been preparing the changes for months but decided to accelerate the roll-out this week.
— With files from Jesse Ferreras