YouTube is warning its users in the US which news channels receive public or government funding, amid a row over the Kremlin-backed Russia Today (RT) broadcaster.

A YouTube notice on Friday said: “If a channel is owned by a news publisher that is funded by a government, or publicly funded, a notice may be displayed…”

Photo: YouTube screenshot.

The label – which appears under each video – indicates how the publisher is funded, along with a link to the publisher’s Wikipedia page. The roll-out began for American users last Friday.

Channels affected include RT, US public broadcaster PBS and New China TV, according to the LA Times. New China TV is part of China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.

YouTube said the move will help viewers “better understand the sources of news content that they watch…” It comes a year after the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed how the popular RT channel had promoted propaganda on the platform in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. In November, the Department of Justice forced RT to register as a foreign agent.

Last month, Facebook said that it would ask users which news sources were trusted, whilst Twitter has said it will inform users who has paid for political ads.

YouTube is censored in China.

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.