In a somewhat chilling turn of events, YouTube has announced plans to feature information from Wikipedia alongside videos about conspiracy theories in an effort to debunk them.
The initiative, announced by the company's CEO Susan Wojcicki at the SXSW festival this week, will begin in a few months.
According to Wojcicki, the company will initially target 'major' conspiracies such as the infamous Moon Hoax theory.
The move comes in response to considerable criticism aimed at YouTube over the plethora of conspiracy-related videos which repeatedly appear in the wake of mass shooting incidents.
How dismantling the Moon Hoax theory helps in that regard is anyone's guess.
As one can imagine, the plan has been met with consternation from conspiracy theorists, of all stripes, who wonder what this might mean for their respective alternative research communities, whether it be Flat Earth fandom or UFO disclosure advocates.
Indeed, were the company not so open about their intentions, one might even call it a conspiracy to silence dissenting opinions that are seen as distasteful to the mainstream.
Whether it will prove to be successful is another matter altogether as some experts are skeptical that the site has the logistics in place to quickly respond to videos about breaking news with well-prepared Wikipedia rebuttals.
To that end, in a testament to the ill-conceived nature of the plan, the encyclopedic website issued a statement indicating that they are not partnering with YouTube on the project, per se, and that the video site is simply going to take their information and use it on their own.
As such, some have raised concerns about how the concept will impact the crowd-sourced nature of Wikipedia which already has a reputation for not always having accurate information in the first place and may now be subjected to virtual 'wars' between skeptics and believers.
Ultimately, should a working system be developed, it is almost certainly not going to stop the creation of conspiracy videos, which will likely just wind up being posted on sites other than YouTube.
Nonetheless, the concept is rather worrisome, regardless of where one stands on specific conspiracy theories, including the more loathsome of the lot, as it puts the power to police information into the hands of YouTube and, by extension, Wikipedia rather than individual users.
Source: The Guardian