There are plenty of videos on YouTube that provide health advice, but how do you know which one you can actually trust? YouTube has added a couple of features that allow you to easily see which channels and videos are a credible source of health information.
Here's how you can find health sources you can trust on YouTube, and how YouTube is making its decision on who makes the cut.
Why Trust YouTube for Health Information?
As more and more people turn to YouTube to get information about their health, the platform realized the need for increasing its credibility. Anyone can start a YouTube channel and create content about any topic they choose on YouTube. This open policy makes it harder for you to distinguish who you can trust for your health-related info and who you can't.
To try to help clarify who the credible sources are, YouTube has partnered with organizations like Mass General Brigham and the American Public Health Association.
YouTube's mission is to "grow the platform's role as an effective, engaging and trusted tool for publishing health information through principles, partnerships, and product development." This is according to Dr. Garth Graham, via a YouTube blog post, Google's Director and Global Head of Healthcare and Public Health.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, YouTube created separate sections and featured content areas for COVID-19 news, to make the latest information to the public as accessible as possible. Now, it has found even more ways to make credible sources easily available on the platform.
How to Find Credible Health Sources on YouTube
YouTube has added two new ways to organize health videos you can trust on the platform. Health source information panels will be added to individual videos that YouTube has deemed trustworthy, and content shelves will be available for broad health topics you search for within the platform.
Health Source Information Panels
In order to determine which videos you watch have credible information, individual videos will now include a panel claiming their validity. The statement in the panel might read something like "From an accredited hospital," and it will link to more information about how YouTube determines who receives the panels. We'll cover more on this process later.
The panel will be below the video and title, but above the sharing and like icons. The other way YouTube will help you find better health sources is by adding content shelves to the search area.
Health Content Shelves
When you search for health videos on YouTube, you are given a list of videos you can scroll through to find what you're looking for. The new health content shelves act in the same way, but instead of scrolling vertically through various videos, you can now scroll horizontally. And the content shelves will be pinned at the very top of search results.
The videos included in the content shelves will be the ones YouTube has deemed credible. This will help you easily find credible sources of information quickly.
How Does YouTube Determine Credible Medical Sources?
YouTube isn't picking any old videos to designate as credible sources; it's following advice given by a panel of experts from the National Academy of Medicine. The academy is a non-profit organization that isn't tied to any government entities. Its purpose is to gather experts from several health-related fields to give non-biased advice for platforms like YouTube to use.
In February 2021, YouTube gathered the panel of experts to pose the question: "How do you define authoritative health sources?" It also wanted to establish how a channel could maintain and foster its authority. Using the advice given by the panel, YouTube has been able to identify several channels that provide consistent health information and have included them in its new features.
Get Reliable Health Information in the Palm of Your Hand
With the health source information panels and health content shelves, YouTube can display credible health sources in easily accessible ways. The company even consulted the National Academy of Medicine to determine which channels would be deemed authoritative.
If you're looking for ways to keep better track of your health, you should also try downloading medical smartphone apps so that the information is available in the palm of your hands.