Study Shows Quarter of Most Viewed Covid-19 YouTube Videos Contain Misinformation

Given the situation that the entire world is struggling to come to terms with, a lot of people are mentioning the fact that misinformation has started to become a far greater issue than it has ever been before. A big part of the reason why that is the case has to do with the fact that people are hungry for information because of the fact that it helps them feel a little calmer since they would now understand the situation that we are currently in a little bit more than might have been the case otherwise.

A recent study published in BMJ Global Health has revealed some troubling statistics. Essentially, one out of every four most watched videos on YouTube whose main subject matter is Covid-19 or the novel coronavirus contains information that could be considered misleading in a lot of different contexts.

YouTube has been both a force for good as well as for bad in a lot of contexts due to the reason that the platform itself doesn’t upload content specifically, at least it didn’t in the cases of Ebola and Swine Flu both of which were pandemics that people on YouTube spread a fair amount of misinformation about. Things have changed now ostensibly with YouTube being a lot more cognizant of the impact that it can have and therefore making it so that less misinformation is posted.

However, it is pretty clear that YouTube is not doing a good enough job when every fourth most watched Covid-19 video contains misinformation. People tend to go for the most watched videos in every category because of the fact that they assume that a high number of views means that the information being presented would be more or less trustworthy in some way, shape or form.


The best videos according to the study were those presented by professional institutions as well as government agencies, both of which managed to make things a lot more reliable by providing information that could be verified by third parties. Essentially, if you want to avoid inaccurate or misleading information, try to get all of your info from official sources that would not be trying to hoodwink you for a wide variety of reasons.

It should be noted that the videos that were assessed were only those that were using English, but it is likely that misinformation does not really rely on any specific language and that the situation is just as dire for videos being created in other languages. Videos pertaining to entertainment news seemed the most likely to be misleading and so you should watch these videos with a grain of salt all in all.



Read next: YouTube Keeps Boosting ‘Authoritative’ Mainstream Media Outlets Although Viewers Don’t Want To Watch Them, Says Susan Wojcicki

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