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After deepfakes, Google, YouTube plan to take down fake news ahead of India’s 2024 general elections

YouTube, the video streaming giant owned by Google, is set to combat the spread of fake news and disinformation in the lead-up to India’s general elections. A senior official from the company revealed plans to remove misleading content and provide users with access to high-quality news by collaborating with reputable news publishers and independent journalists.

During a recent interaction with the press, YouTube India Director Ishan Chatterjee emphasized the platform’s commitment to addressing misinformation. He explained that their policies dictate action against content that has been technologically manipulated to deceive users and poses a real-world harm risk. However, Chatterjee stressed that this is only one facet of their strategy.

The second part of YouTube’s strategy focuses on ensuring users can access reliable, high-quality news content from news organizations and independent journalists. Despite news not being a distinct category on YouTube, it remains a significant driver of content consumption.

Chatterjee highlighted the substantial growth in news consumption on platforms such as YouTube Shorts and Connected TV (CTV). CTV has been the fastest-growing platform for YouTube in India, boasting over 58 million people streaming YouTube on their TVs as of June.

YouTube’s Director and Global Head of Responsibility, Tim Katz, noted the uniqueness of the Indian market, where the consumption of live content, particularly news, is exceptionally high, even on CTV. Katz observed significant growth during sensitive moments, such as major news stories and election cycles.

Emphasizing diversity, Katz acknowledged the increasing presence of various news partners on the platform, ranging from independent journalists to broadcasters, print publishers, and digital native publishers. He expressed the platform’s commitment to serving and supporting the entire spectrum of the news ecosystem.

A report by the Google News Initiative in collaboration with Kantar highlighted video as the most popular format for news consumption across different languages and formats. The report also revealed that half of Indian language internet users engage with news, with a third residing in urban areas. Furthermore, seven in ten users consume hyperlocal news across India.

According to the Oxford Economics Impact Report, 70 percent of media and music companies in India with a YouTube channel consider the platform a crucial source of revenue for their businesses.

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