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YouTube adds video note feature for users

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YouTube has added a new Explore feature that allows users to take notes on videos that can be used to explain content posted on the platform.

“Starting today, we're testing an experimental feature that allows users to add notes to give videos relevant, timely, and easy-to-understand context,” YouTube wrote in a blog post on Monday. “For example, this could include notes clarifying when a song is intended as a parody, indicating when a new version of a product being discussed is available, or alerting viewers when older footage is being mistakenly portrayed as a current event.”

The first version of the feature is available in the US and in English. YouTube expects that some bugs will crop up during the pilot phase of the feature.

“During this testing phase, we expect there will be errors – notes that don't fit well with the video, or potentially incorrect information – and that's part of what we'll learn from the experiment,” the blog post said. “Viewers, participants, and creators are invited to give us feedback on the quality of the notes, and we'll look for ways to improve over time, including whether it makes sense to expand the feature.”

For now, select creators will be given permission to take notes. Select contributors will be invited via email or a notification in the Creator Studio section of their YouTube account. Contributors' permissions will be based on their YouTube status.

As for how the notes look, they will appear below a video if the notes are deemed “generally useful.”

“People are asked whether they think a note is 'helpful,' 'somewhat helpful,' or 'not helpful,' and why – for example, whether it cites high-quality sources or is written clearly and neutrally,” the post continues. From there, we use a bridging-based algorithm to consider these ratings and determine which notes get published.”

The new update comes at a time when misinformation, disinformation and false information continue to be a hotly debated topic online, especially as the 2024 presidential election approaches and people continue to weigh in on the truths and falsehoods spread by politicians online.

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