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YouTube changes search algorithms after misinformation during Las Vegas shooting

YouTube changes search algorithms after misinformation during Las Vegas shooting

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YouTube has changed its search algorithms to display more reliable and trustworthy sources after the violent attack in Las Vegas saw a spike in misinformation and hateful content appear on the site, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The paper reports that on Tuesday the fifth result shown when a user searches "Las Vegas shooting" showed a video that claimed there were multiple shooters involved (authorities had confirmed there was only one). The video, called "Proof Las Vegas Shooting Was a FALSE FLAG attack—Shooter on 4th Floor," had received 1.1 million views in 27 hours. YouTube removed the video on Wednesday.

A source familiar with YouTube told the WSJ the video streaming site is accelerating the rollout of planned changes to its search engine in response to criticism. YouTube began showing more reliable sources in search results on Wednesday, but hasn’t revealed how it determines which sources are authoritative and which aren’t.

"When it comes to news, we have thousands of news publishers that present a variety of viewpoints,” the company said in an email to the WSJ.

Photo: Google via The WSJ

YouTube uses algorithms when ranking videos in search results and in choosing videos to feature on Up Next in the video player. The company had been working on tweaks to its search results for months but implemented the changes earlier than planned, the source said. The source also noted the changes still need work.

YouTube’s parent company Google also faced backlash and was forced to apologize after it featured a 4chan thread that misidentified the shooter in its Top News section. Following the Las Vegas shooting, Facebook’s Safety Check page was also filled with scammers and hoaxes.