Licensed healthcare professionals on YouTube can now apply to get panels added to their videos that mark them as reliable health information sources, the company said Thursday. They’ll also be able to have videos added to health content shelves, which compile information on specific medical conditions.
Licensed doctors, nurses, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and social workers are eligible for the feature. YouTube will verify applicants’ licenses. They’ll have to agree to follow the best practices for health information sharing created by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, the National Academy of Medicine, and the World Health Organization — which says information should be science-based, objective, transparent, and equitable. YouTube says users accepted into the program will be “periodically reassessed” to make sure they still meet the criteria.
Previously, only organizations like public health departments and hospitals were able to access these features. “This new step will allow us to expand to include high quality information from a wider group of healthcare channels,” Garth Graham, global head of healthcare and public health partnerships at YouTube, said in a blog post announcing the change.
YouTube is working to grow the volume of reliable health information on the platform, Graham told The Verge earlier this month.
“I think that we need to be tackling medical misinformation by either removing or reducing what’s seen. But people still have questions and look for answers,” he said. “So you have to make sure you have an adequate supply of information that allows people to engage appropriately.”
YouTube has struggled to manage misinformation, particularly medical misinformation — it was a major source of misinformation around covid and the covid vaccine, for example. Elevating what YouTube considers good information is one way to improve the mix of healthcare content, but it remains to be seen if it’ll be enough to counteract the bad.