Individuals increasingly rely on online sources, e.g., video platforms, to access health information. However, a lack of objective quality signals makes it difficult to assess the credibility of such information, which is created by non-experts or users with insufficient knowledge. To combat this challenge of assessing the credibility of online information, the video platform YouTube introduced the YouTube Health program in Germany in 2023. The intervention is two-fold: First, credible sources with existing accreditation processes, such as healthcare organizations, journals, or educational institutions, as well as licensed individuals and organizations with a focus on health information, get a label that appears for each video of the respective channels. Second, credible sources are promoted in search results, showing them in a separate video shelf on top of the results. Exploiting this intervention as a quasi-experiment, we aim to answer the following research questions: (1) How effective is nudging users towards credible information?, (2) Why does this effect manifest contrasting the two interventions as part of the program?, and (3) What are downstream implications for consumers and producers of video content? We rely on a difference-in-differences design contrasting German health channels to French channels to assess the effects. We provide evidence that the intervention gives privilege to labeled sources, which manifests in related engagement metrics. We show that both demand and supply on the platform change with several implications for the design decisions of platform providers.
Lindenmayr, Michaela and Foerderer, Jens, "Is Labeling of Authorized Sources Effective? Evidence from YouTube Health" (2023). Digit 2023 Proceedings. 12.