Sunday, September 25

Verifiers around the world accuse YouTube of spreading disinformation

  • Up to 80 fact-checking organizations, including Maldita, Newtral and Verificat, demand that the platform act to stop the spread of hoaxes

In recent years, multiple critical voices have denounced how Youtube has become a rabbit hole that accelerates the radicalization of its users. This Wednesday, news checkers from up to 40 countries published a tough joint letter in which they accuse the platform from video most popular channel in the world (with 2.3 billion monthly users) of being one of the main channels of disinformation and not doing enough to stop that spread of gust.

Up to 80 organizations from ‘fact-checking‘, among which are Damn, Newtral Y Verified, denounce that the toxic role of YouTube has gone further with the irruption of the pandemic of the coronavirus and the dissemination of conspiracy messages against science and vaccines. “YouTube allows unscrupulous actors to use its platform as a weapon to manipulate and exploit other people, and to organize and raise funds,” the letter reads.

And it is that the history of falsehoods that spread with impunity on YouTube, owned by Google (Alphabet), is especially extensive. The platform has thus served to disseminate the rejected Trumpist electoral fraud conspiracies in the United States, which achieved over 33 million views and led to a violent insurrection against the Capitol, but also to popularize theories antivacunas among European and Latin American users, promoting false cures for the covid-19 or the Cancer or boost hate speech against ethnic and sexual minorities in countries like Brazil. Some of those hoaxes are propelled by himself algorithm YouTube recommendation.

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Measures are required

In it, these verification groups ask Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, to take a series of measures to “improve the information ecosystem of the platform.” Although the platform has taken some significant measures, such as banning videos that promote unscientific content such as those that falsely claim that vaccines cause cancer, autism or infertility, the truth is that many of the channels that spread these hoaxes “are still active today. today and they sneaked through the Youtube controls. “

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This global network of verifiers believes that the measures taken so far by the platform “are not working” and complain that “no quality data has been published to support its effectiveness.” In this sense, they criticize that YouTube has limited itself to deleting content instead of providing context with contrasted information about the videos that circulate on the network, a way that academic evidence has been shown to be more effective to combat misinformation. “That alternative also preserves the freedom of expression while recognizing that providing that additional information can mitigate risks to life, health, security and democratic processes, “they explain.

That is why they ask Youtbe to adopt that line of contextualization instead of eliminating videos, to be more transparent with the misinformation that circulates on its platform and its measures to stop it, support its independent research, prevent its algorithms from encouraging these hoaxes, act against repeat misinformers who also make money with their publications and strengthen its field of action for other languages ​​that do not be english.

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