In the era of "fake news" and Russian bots, YouTube is taking its own steps to stop the spread of propaganda and create greater transparency for viewers. As of yesterday, the video platform updated its policies to now add notices on news videos produced using government funding, according to Fortune. They released an official statement on Friday about the change, indicating that news broadcasters with any amount of government funds will now have a label underneath their videos saying as much.
YouTube says the change is a step towards handling news on its platform in a "more responsible way," since they've come under fire in the past for the amount of misinformation on its website. Just last year, a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated millions of views went to videos from state-sponsored Russian broadcaster RT. YouTube hopes the new policy will mean that this will help stop that kind of activity, but not everyone is happy about the decision.
PBS would also fall under this new shift, but they've pushed back against it because the vast majority of their funding comes from private donations, and they feel they should be excluded. The policy doesn't account for or take how much funding is government connected into consideration, something that can seem broad or vague when it comes to broadcasters like PBS. Issuing a statement to the Los Angeles Times, they said, "PBS is an independent, private, not-for-profit corporation, not a state broadcaster. YouTube’s proposed labeling could wrongly imply that the government has influence over PBS content, which is prohibited by statute."