YouTube Pilots New Feature: Video Context Notes

YouTube Testing Feature for Contextual Notes on Videos

YouTube is currently testing a new feature called “Video Context Notes,” which allows users to add contextual information to videos. This feature, available on mobile in the United States for English language videos, enables invited contributors to write short annotations.

In an announcement, YouTube explained the purpose of context notes, stating:

“These notes could clarify when footage contains parody material, point out if a product review is outdated due to a newer version release, or confirm whether viral clips actually depict current events.”

This initiative builds on YouTube’s efforts to provide context alongside videos, including information panels and disclosure labels for altered or synthetic media. However, the platform acknowledges that there may be inaccuracies or inappropriate notes during the experimental phase.

“We anticipate there will be mistakes – notes that aren’t a great match for the video or potentially incorrect information. That’s part of how we’ll learn from the experiment.”

Availability and Evaluation

YouTube will invite a select number of channels in good standing to write and attach context notes to videos. U.S. viewers will have the opportunity to view and rate the helpfulness of these notes. Additionally, third-party evaluators, who also provide feedback on YouTube’s search and recommendation systems, will assess the quality and accuracy of the notes.

These ratings, along with viewer input, will be processed through a “bridging-based algorithm” to determine which notes are published widely. YouTube explained in the announcement:

“If many people who have rated notes differently in the past now rate the same note as helpful, then our system is more likely to show that note under a video.”

As the pilot progresses, YouTube plans to explore having contributors rate each other’s notes to improve the note-publishing system.

Significance for Viewers

This new feature could enhance the credibility of videos by confirming or debunking the claims made by presenters. While there may be initial challenges, if YouTube can refine this notes system effectively, it could set a new standard for transparency in video content online.

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