Wire Service
1 minute read
12 Jan 2022
8:28 am

Fact-checkers urge YouTube to fight fake news


Fact-checkers called on YouTube to ensure its algorithm did not actively promote fake news to users.

Photo: iStock

More than 80 fact-checking organisations Wednesday urged online video platform YouTube to better combat disinformation, offering to help debunk false statements.

YouTube fake news challenge

Misinformation ‘goes under radar’

Groups spanning the globe – from Politifact and the Washington Post in the United States to the Kenya-based Africa Check – said fake news on YouTube should be curbed.

“Every day, we see that YouTube is one of the major conduits of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide,” said group of fack-checkers said in a statement.

Videos containing false information had gone “under the radar of YouTube’s policies”.

Effective action action fake news needed

This is “especially an issue in non-English speaking countries”, the group of fact-checkers said in an open letter to YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki.

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

“Our experience as fact-checkers together with academic evidence tells us that surfacing fact-checked information is more effective than deleting content.”

YouTube claims it is ‘making progress’

It also urged the platform to make sure its recommendation algorithm did not actively promote disinformation to its users.

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

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

She said the platform had seen “important progress”.

© Agence France-Presse

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