It Just Got Easier to Avoid Fake News and Conspiracy Theories on YouTube

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iStock

All it takes is the right keyword search to fall down a rabbit-hole of conspiracy theories on YouTube. The video-sharing site notoriously makes it easy to find videos disputing everything from the moon landing to the shape of the Earth—some of which have racked up millions of views, granting them the illusion of legitimacy. Now, The Verge reports that YouTube is making it easier for viewers to separate fact from fiction.

When users search for something that's a popular subject of conspiracy theories—"Oklahoma bombing" is one example YouTube gives—a link to a third-party text source like Wikipedia or Encyclopædia Britannica will now appear at the top of their search results. The idea is to provide some general context for the topic before users have a chance to click on a video filled with inaccurate content.

The company also announced it's taking steps to stop the spread of misinformation regarding breaking news. Now, searches related to developing major news events will come with their own blurb at the top of the search results linking to a trusted outlet. YouTube admits that it isn't always the best platform for breaking news, and the new feature aims to make up for that.

They said in the announcement:

"After a breaking news event, it takes time to verify, produce and publish high-quality videos. Journalists often write articles first to break the news rather than produce videos. That's why in the coming weeks in the U.S. we will start providing a short preview of news articles in search results on YouTube that link to the full article during the initial hours of a major news event, along with a reminder that breaking and developing news can rapidly change."

YouTube also plans to support the video journalism that can be trusted. The company will be investing in news organizations in 20 global markets and collaborating with established outlets on ways to improve how it handles news in the future.

YouTube is the latest tech giant making an effort to crack down on the misinformation that circulates through its platform. Both Google and Facebook have added features that make it easier to spot fake news, but as is the case with YouTube's new update, they only work when users are willing to look for them.

[h/t The Verge]

Which 'Should I ...' Question Is Your State Googling?

iStock.com/Erikona
iStock.com/Erikona

Whether you're about to make an important life decision or you're considering changing your appearance, you may ask Google to weigh in before moving forward. People around the country are guilty of asking the search engine subjective "should I" questions, but the subjects people are searching for vary by state.

For the map below, the analysts at the AT&T retailer All Home Connections used autocomplete to determine the most common Google search queries starting with the words "Should I ..." From there, they looked at the Google Trends data from the past year to break down the popularity of each question in all 50 states.

"Should I vote?" was one of the top searches, ranking most popular in seven states. People throughout the U.S. are also Googling health and diet-related questions, with "should I fast?", "should I lose weight?", and "should I diet?" each cropping up in multiple states. While some states are concerned with relatively minor questions, like "should I buy Bitcoin?" and "should I text him?", others are using Google to make potentially life-changing moves. "Should I break up with my boyfriend?," "should I have a baby?," and "should I buy a house?" all came out on top in at least one state.

This map represents just a fraction of what Americans are typing into Google. You can also check out the health symptoms, state-specific questions, and general topics people are searching for where you live.

Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Is Officially the Most Streamed Song of the 20th Century

Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" was a massive hit when it was released in 1975. After spending nine weeks at the top of the UK charts (it only broke the top 10 on the U.S. charts), it went on to become the third bestselling UK single of all time. Even as the way people listen to music has changed, the mock opera's popularity hasn't wavered. Now, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is officially the most streamed song recorded in the 20th century, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Queen's song has been streamed by listeners a staggering 1.5 billion times, putting it ahead of classic rock tracks like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana and "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses. But when looking at overall streaming numbers, contemporary tracks still dominate. Combined, the original version of "Despacito" and the remix garnered 4.6 billion plays in just six months last year.

This latest milestone for "Bohemian Rhapsody" is even more satisfying when you know the song's backstory. The long play time and unconventional, operatic style made some music industry insiders—including the band's manager and Elton John—skeptical of its marketability. When the song debuted on the radio, listeners calling in to demand more quickly proved them wrong.

The track likely got a boost in popularity recently with help from the Freddie Mercury biopic that shares its name. Bohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek, hit theaters in early November and is now officially the second-highest grossing musical biopic of all time, just behind 2015's Straight Outta Compton. But it's not the first time a hit movie has led to renewed interest in the song: the tune saw a similar spike in sales—and it reentered the charts and hit No. 2—when it played an integral part in the hit 1992 comedy Wayne's World.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]

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