YouTube is bringing two new features to the Indian market, which will focus on promoting accurate and credible health information to users. The “Health Source Information Panel” and a “Health Content Shelf” will now be available in India in Hindi and English. These features – which are already available in the US – are designed to combat misinformation on health topics and help credible videos stand out. Japan and Brazil are the other two markets where the feature is being rolled out.
“Our mission is to truly provide equitable access to high-quality, authoritative health information that is evidence-based, but just as important, it must be culturally relevant and engaging. This approach reinforces our ongoing efforts to combat medical misinformation,” Dr. Garth Graham, Director and Global Head of Healthcare and Public Health, YouTube told indianexpress.com in a video interview.
The features are triggered when a user searches for information related to a health condition such as stroke or breast cancer. “Health Source Information Panels” will appear below videos from accredited health organizations and government entities. For example, if a person watches a video about breast cancer by Apollo Hospitals, a label will appear below, noting that it is from a credible source.
The idea is to “provide more context” to users to help them “identify videos from authoritative sources”.
“Health Content Shelves” will more effectively highlight videos from authoritative sources when viewers search for specific health topics. For example, when a user searches for heart disease or stroke, a new content shelf will appear before the usual search results. This will include videos from “accredited health organizations and government entities”. These shelves are meant to be visually separated and to highlight authoritative videos in search, according to YouTube.
YouTube will rely on search signals across platforms and the WHO’s Burden of Disease Information to determine which health conditions are eligible to receive a health content shelf. Conditions such as pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, lymphoma, cerebral palsy, hypertension, stroke, oral cancer, leukemia will be covered as well as many others. The feature will expand to other health issues in the future.
Dr Graham added that the pandemic has accelerated many learnings for the platform. “One of the most interesting things to me is how health organizations around the world were looking at YouTube, some even before we started,” he said.
To help define who would be categorized as a “credible” source, YouTube worked with the National Academy of Medicine in the United States and the World Health Organization to develop the principles for deciding these recommendations.
“The principles are based on the fact that certain health organizations are more likely to be authoritative sources. Thus, hospitals, local health authorities and national health organizations that have a proven track record of producing scientifically credible scientific information, organizations that have internal processes to ensure that they produce health information quality are taken into account. And that helps define the source of the types of videos that we’re going to elevate,” Dr. Graham explained.
But what if a user is looking for an alternative cancer treatment? In such scenarios, other types of videos may still appear in search results, but YouTube will improve authoritative health information with new features. Explaining the reasoning behind this, Dr Graham said the intention is not to ‘take away people’s access to learning from other sources’, but rather to ‘raise much of the credible content from these sources that have produced quality content”.
Asked if YouTube might soon offer these videos as a “watch next” option, perhaps after a not-so-credible health video, Dr Graham said the company would see how users react to it. functionality and would commit to it before deciding how it would evolve later.