YouTube is launching a new feature called Community Notes. This feature is inspired by a similar feature on X, formerly known as Twitter. The goal is to provide extra information and context to videos.

Pilot program launch

The Community Notes feature will start as a pilot program. A select number of eligible contributors will receive invitations via email or Creator Studio. These contributors must have active YouTube accounts in good standing.

During the pilot phase, third-party evaluators will rate the notes for their helpfulness. This process will help YouTube fine-tune the system. The company wants to launch the feature gradually to ensure it works well before making it widely available.

How it works

Once fully launched, Community Notes will appear under videos if they are found to be broadly helpful. Viewers will be asked to rate notes as “helpful,” “somewhat helpful” or “unhelpful,” and explain why they chose that rating. For example, viewers might say a note is helpful if it cites good sources or is written clearly.

The ratings will be determined by a bridging-based algorithm. This algorithm looks for agreements among people who usually rate things differently. If these people agree on a note’s helpfulness, it’s more likely to appear.

Learning from Twitter’s example

This feature is very similar to the one introduced by Twitter (now X) under Jack Dorsey and expanded by Elon Musk in 2022. Musk called it a “game changer for improving accuracy on Twitter.” Although X is not widely known for its accuracy, YouTube saw value in the crowd-sourced context approach.

For now, Community Notes will only be available to mobile users in the US and only in English. YouTube plans to expand it to more users in the coming weeks and months. Mistakes are expected during this test phase as the algorithms are adjusted.

Featured image courtesy: YouTube