YouTube announces new features to improve its news experience

YouTube to highlight stories from reputable news sources when news breaks

YouTube is fighting fake news with $25M to promote journalism and more context in search results

In February, for example, a YouTube video suggesting that one of the high-school students who survived the mass killing in Parkland, Fla., David Hogg, was an actor hired by gun-control advocates briefly became YouTube's No. 1 trending video.

The video platform will also provide funding to news organisations around the world, helping them to build sustainable video operations.

Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan said the company isn't just compiling a simple list of trusted news outlets, noted that the definition of authoritative is "fluid" and then added the caveat that it won't simply boil down to sources that are popular on YouTube.

Beginning in the coming weeks, when YouTube users in the United States search for videos on breaking news, they will see short excerpts of the news as well as the links to different media. When users search for videos about a big event or a breaking news story, a snippet of a published article from a third-party news source will appear at the top of the search results. Starting Monday, some videos will also include text from outside sources such as Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica to make it easier for viewers to reach their their own conclusions.

It's also testing features that will surface local news on the YouTube television app. These tests are being run in 25 markets across the USA and Google says that local news has gotten "strong engagement" so far.

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On another front, YouTube said it has established a working group with news organizations and experts to help the video site develop new product features and improve the news experience on YouTube. Members already include Vox Media, Brazilian radio station Jovem Pan and India Today, with more to be added in the coming weeks.

When a breaking news event happens, another new feature called "Breaking News" shelf will highlight videos from news organisations about that event directly on the YouTube homepage.

This is part of Google's broad response to the rise of fake news across the globe in recent years. These sections now appear in 17 countries, including the USA, U.K., France, Italy, Japan, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, and Nigeria, and Google aims to double that number in the coming months. These features are already in 17 countries including the US, UK, France, Nigeria and Italy.

As part of the partnership with MediaWise, six YouTube creators - including John Green, Ingrid Nilsen and Mark Watson - will be creating videos meant to raise awareness about digital literacy and help educate teens about identifying legit sources of news and information.

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