YouTube and disinformation: 80 fact-checking organizations demand accountability

Alexandre boero

January 12, 2022, 6:00 p.m.



© YouTube

Dozens of organizations, including two French women, are calling on YouTube to take effective measures to fight disinformation.

Is the YouTube platform too lax in the fight against disinformation and the famous fake news ? That’s all about 80 fact-checking organizations (or fact-checking) spread around the world. The latter have published an open letter on the Poynter Institute website in which they address themselves directly to the great boss of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, indicating that they are ready to “ help him To combat the phenomenon.

YouTube would make insufficient efforts, according to the signatories

The 80 signatories (NGOs, media including two French representatives, Highlighters and Science Feedback) report growing disinformation on the Internet since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago, and more specifically on YouTube. Organizations even go so far as to refer to the video platform as ” one of the main vectors of online disinformation in the world “.

They denounce too weak efforts on the side of YouTube to implement policies that would make it possible to fight more effectively against disinformation. ” On the contrary “, They curse, reproaching the platform for leaving” unscrupulous actors »Manipulate and exploit users, to better organize and finance themselves. The signatories call for the immediate taking of measures commensurate with the fight against fake news and call for the creation of a roadmap that would be established in collaboration with fact-checking independent and non-partisan.

The signatories point the finger in particular to a movement of reputed negationist doctors from Germany, which has spread to Spain, then to Latin America thanks to YouTube. But also the thousands of videos, in Greek and Arabic, which encourage the boycott of vaccination and to treat oneself with false remedies. And the campaigns extend far beyond COVID-19: hate speech against vulnerable groups (in Brazil), fake content denying human rights violations (in the Philippines) and videos denouncing the latest US presidential election as a fraud have also been the subject of a lot of viral content on YouTube, according to the letter.

🎙 The reaction of Elena Hernandez, spokesperson for YouTube:

Fact checking is a crucial tool in helping viewers make their own informed decisions, but it is a piece of a much larger puzzle to combat the spread of disinformation. Over the years, we’ve invested heavily in policies and products in every country we operate to connect people to authoritative content, reduce the spread of disinformation, and remove non-compliant videos. We’ve seen significant progress, keeping the recommended disinformation consumption limit well below 1% of all views on YouTube. And only about 0.21% of all views are non-compliant content which we remove later. We are always looking for meaningful ways to improve and will continue to strengthen our work with the fact-checking community.

Organizations ready to help YouTube in its fact-checking

In their letter, the organizations are concerned that “ many of these videos and channels remain online today “. NGOs and the media claim they have gone through YouTube’s content policies. And while signatories acknowledge some effort YouTube has made in trying to resolve the issue, ” these efforts are not working », They denounce. They criticize in particular Google’s video platform for not having produced any quality data which proves the effectiveness of the measures put in place.

Last September, YouTube nevertheless indicated, in the press, having deleted since October 2020 more than 130,000 videos bearing false information on the vaccine against Covid-19. But in total, the service teams have removed more than a million videos related to dangerous or misleading medical information on Covid-19, since the start of the pandemic. Often in collaboration with medical experts, to adapt its regulations on disinformation.

🧐 YouTube, already at work to fight against disinformation

The YouTube platform is already working with several hundred publishers around the world, with fact-checking panels launched for example in the United States, Germany or the United Kingdom. It will regularly publish its view violation rate and continue to strengthen its transparency and accountability on disinformation in the coming months.

Nonetheless, the organizations that signed the letter offer to help YouTube step up its fight against disinformation. They also deliver a series of solutions, ranging from research carried out by independents to flush out disinformation campaigns to tougher sanctions applied to repeat offenders, to greater efforts to combat content published in languages ​​other than the French language. ‘English.

🗣 YouTube’s reaction to disinformation-related content posted in languages ​​other than English:

When it comes to non-English disinformation, we enforce our policies globally, and our recommendation system strives to reduce content limit and increase authoritative content in all markets. on which we operate “, YouTube tells us.

On the same subject :
YouTube unveils the 2021 ranking of the most popular videos, clips and creators in France

Source: Poynter

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