Everybody must know by now that one of the worst things you can sometimes do to yourself if you are feeling sick – is search your symptoms on Google. (And never, ever search pictures or YouTube. Things obviously tend to get “graphic” there.)
When it doesn’t outright and by design rearrange or even censor information, Google’s algorithms tend to surface what’s most clickable for purely monetary reasons – and what’s most clickable is most often not what’s of highest objective quality. (We’ve said goodbye to organic search on Google a long time ago, and now we have to live with that).
But it can be a problem, especially where health is concerned.
Now, YouTube has announced the launching of new “health panels” that are triggered by users searching for health-related keywords on YouTube.
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And what better way to start in this current climate, than with coronavirus.
Google tells us local health sources “might” be prioritized along with a text-based panel from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations agency – who just recently said, “no need to wear masks outdoors – other people need them more than you do.”
And boy, did the “local health authorities” in some countries – that managed to provide a sufficient supply of masks for both healthcare workers, and the general population, and didn’t have to prioritize one over the other – have something to say about that “recommendation.” (Let’s just say, it wasn’t nice!)
Anyway, it would be amazing to see how YouTube’s new “health panels” deal with these kinds of differences of opinion between major health organizations and governments.
Knowing, of course, that any difference of opinion in this global health crisis is actively discouraged by Big Tech. Your dissenting opinion just gets chopped off.
For now, searching for “coronavirus” on YouTube for me right now, all I get is the WHO link and then some media garbage, stories from the likes of Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle. So much for “prioritizing local healthcare sources” – all YouTube seems to be doing here is prioritizing “trusted media.”
Trusted by Google, that is.