YouTube to offer fake news workshops to teenagers

Image source, Getty Images

YouTube is launching a new campaign to tackle internet safety and issues around fake news, the video streaming site has announced.

The company says it will put on workshops aimed at 13 to 18-year-olds in cities across the UK.

The plans, promoted as part of Internet Citizens day, also aim to raise awareness of issues around free speech, comment moderation and online abuse.

YouTube has been criticised in the past for how it tackles hate speech.

Last month the UK government removed its adverts from YouTube amid concerns they were appearing next to "inappropriate" material on the video-sharing site.

The Guardian, Channel 4 and the BBC have also pulled ads citing similar worries.

Google, which owns YouTube, said at the time it would review its controls.

Image source, Google

A number of prominent YouTubers are acting as ambassadors for "social change", with Google promoting the "five fundamentals" of voice, story, courage, community and action.

The likes of youth author John Green, Turkish Youtuber Baris Ozcan, and London-based vlogger Dina Torkia are all involved in the programme.

They say young people's vulnerability can be heightened when it is difficult to judge whether a piece of content is real, especially when something is shared on social media by a trusted friend.

The internet company have spent the last few weeks testing the workshop.

Naomi Gummer, head of public policy at YouTube UK, said: "The internet is what we want it to be. It can be an unpleasant place where people misunderstand and deliberately deceive each other.

"Or it can be this amazing place where we can share, collaborate, understand and help each other.

"We all have a part to play in making it that positive, healthy place. It sounds big, but actually it's easy and you know what to do. Stand up for what you want."

Image source, YouTube

Anna Smee, CEO of UK Youth, said: "Young people in the UK spend more time online than ever before.

"In this complex world, there is an urgent need to help young people embrace the positive aspects of connectivity but we must also support them to manage the negative effects."

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