YouTube tweaks search results after Vegas shooting backlash

The site rolled out the update earlier than planned after it was criticized for allegedly spreading misinformation following the mass shooting.

Richard Nieva
Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
2 min read

YouTube has tweaked the way its search engine works.


After sharp criticism, YouTube has made a change to its search engine, choosing to promote videos from more mainstream news outlets above fringe content. The change comes in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, after the video site allegedly promoted conspiracy theories.

YouTube, owned by Google, confirmed the change on Thursday. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the news.

In the wake of the attack Sunday that left at least 59 dead and more than 500 people injured, some YouTube videos spread misinformation. For example, according to the Journal's report, when searching for "las vegas shooting," one video said there were multiple shooters involved, which law enforcement has refuted.

As of this writing, that same search query now yields videos from Vox, Fox News, NBC's Today and USA Today, in that order.

The tweak to YouTube's search results was previously planned, but the rollout was sped up due to the criticism. YouTube is the world's largest video site, with more than a billion visitors a month. This isn't the first time the site has gotten into trouble because of its automated systems. Earlier this year, YouTube faced an advertiser boycott after its ad tech placed advertisements next to extremist and hate content.

Google, YouTube's parent, faced a backlash after the Vegas shooting too. The search engine reportedly spread misinformation about the event in its "Top News" section.

Google has also been been criticized regarding false news during the 2016 election. Google is reportedly conducting an internal investigation to examine how Russian agents could have exploited its services to interfere in the election. The company has been invited by Congress to testify on a panel on the subject on Nov. 1. Google has not yet said whether it will participate.

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