Making high-quality health information accessible to everyone involves meeting people where they are – and YouTube Health is at the vanguard of implementing foundational principles for credible sources of such information
At YouTube, we believe that information is a key determinant of health, and we are dedicated to making high-quality health information accessible to everyone. Over the years, Google and YouTube have been at the vanguard of implementing foundational principles for credible sources of health information,1,2 launching products to raise authoritative health information, such as health content shelves, health source information panels and knowledge panels.3,4 We continue advancing our mission and addressing health information disparities by deeply investing in technologies, partnerships and research to increase equitable access to high-quality health information, bring diverse perspectives from underrepresented communities and ensure a responsible approach to tackling medical misinformation.
As we transform how health information is delivered and shared globally, the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of access to accurate health information. We recognise that medical information, and misinformation, continues to evolve. We have taken important lessons we have learned about the most effective ways to tackle medical misinformation to design a more transparent and robust policy framework to address health topics that are prone to misinformation, now and in the future.5 One important step towards meeting people where they are is ensuring that viewers trust the health information they find on YouTube. For example, cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. There is stable consensus among local and global health authorities about safe cancer treatments, yet cancer is a topic that is prone to misinformation. When cancer patients and their loved ones are faced with a diagnosis, they often turn to online spaces to research symptoms, learn about treatment journeys and find community. As we continue to increase and raise engaging and informative cancer-related videos from a range of authoritative sources, we are also removing misinformation that promotes cancer treatments proven to be harmful or ineffective, or content that discourages viewers from seeking professional medical treatment.
Effective communication is at the heart of improving people’s health. Yet another important step towards meeting people where they are is meeting the language needs of diverse populations. Language barriers are a significant driver of health disparities. Making videos in multiple languages can be labour and resource intensive, so YouTube is collaborating with trusted health partners to pilot Aloud, our AI-powered dubbing tool6 to responsibly and efficiently reach global audiences with critical health information at no cost. We plan to continue improving and expanding this tool to help even more health creators unlock authoritative health information that may otherwise be contained to a single language.
When people turn to platforms like YouTube with health questions, they look not only for high-quality information, but also for messengers and communities with whom they can relate. As part of YouTube Health’s ongoing efforts to build partnerships with a wide range of credible, trusted experts across the health industry, we believe that meeting people where they are also means increasing the diversity of voices and perspectives, and connecting with people in ways that are not only scientifically accurate but also representative of who they are. We are excited to continue advancing health equity through our initiative to support health professionals creating high-quality health content highlighting underrepresented communities.7
While we recognise that there is more work to be done, we are excited with every step we take towards realising our mission to make high-quality health information accessible to everyone. By partnering with trusted leaders across industries and meeting people where they are, we are confident that together we can and will reimagine how health information is shared to help everyone, everywhere, to live healthier lives.