Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

Organizations around the world say YouTube has become ‘one of the most important channels of online disinformation and misinformation’.

More than 80 fact-finding organizations from around the world have urged YouTube to do more to tackle disinformation and not allow its online video platform to be armed by unscrupulous actors.

In an open letter to YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki, the groups ranging from the Kenya-based Africa Check to Politifact and the Washington Post in the United States offered to help the platform deny false statements.

“Every day we see that YouTube is one of the major channels of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide,” they said, adding that videos containing false information went “under the radar” of the platform’s policies, especially in -English-speaking countries.

“We call on you to take effective action against misinformation and misinformation … and to do so with the world’s independent, non-partisan fact-checking organizations,” they added.

“Our experience as fact-checkers, together with academic evidence, tells us that it’s more effective to bring information to the fore than to delete content.”

Among their recommendations, the groups called on YouTube to focus on providing context and presenting revelations, and also encouraged it to make sure that its recommendation algorithm does not actively promote disinformation to its users.

Elena Hernandez, YouTube spokeswoman, defended the platform, saying that fact-checking is a “crucial tool” but only “one piece of a much larger puzzle to address the spread of misinformation”.

“Over the years, we have invested heavily in policies and products in all countries… to connect people to authoritative content, reduce the spread of borderline misinformation and remove offensive videos,” she added.

She said YouTube had seen “significant progress”.

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