YouTube launches effort to verify eyewitness footage

YouTube launches effort to verify eyewitness footage

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By Rebecca Stewart,
Thursday, 25th June 2015

The video-hosting platform is aiming to ensure its breaking news footage is trustworthy

YouTube has launched three new tools aimed at verifying eyewitness footage of events uploaded to the platform.

The video platform has become a go-to destination for breaking news footage. From the Arab Spring and the Green Revolution, to the Charlie Hebdo Attacks and the Protests in Ferguson, some of the most important stories have unfolded on the platform.

Citizen journalism has brought a glut of information but it is almost impossible to verify genuine footage from fakes. YouTube's three new initiatives hope to combat this problem, while supporting the discovery of more eyewitness video.

In a blog post, Google News Lab's head of strategy and operations, Olivia Ma said: "We're proud of the role that YouTube and its creators have and continue to play in the ever-changing, ever-expanding news and information ecosystem, and we hope that these new projects will empower more journalists to use powerful eyewitness video easily and responsibly."

The first of these initiatives is eyewitness channel Newswire, launched in conjunction with Storyful. YouTube has worked with the social news agency since the Arab Spring in 2010 and Storyful will now dedicate a team to curate the Newswire feed, verifying all content for the channel's global and regional feeds.

The second venture, due out in the autumn, is an educational platform run by employees from a variety of social news agencies, including Storyful and Eyewitness Media Hub. The First Draft Coalition will share tips on verifying eyewitness media and discussing the ethical implications of using certain content.

The final branch seeks to tackle human rights issues "through the analysis of citizen video". WITNESS Media Lab, created in partnership with non-profit organisation WITNESS, will produce content that focuses on "human rights struggles as seen from the perspective of those who live, witness, and experience them".



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The video-hosting platform is aiming to ensure its breaking news footage is trustworthy