Fact-checkers worldwide are urged YouTube to take significant actions to solve the massive problem of misinformation on its platform that puts its around 2 billion users at risk.
More than 80 fact-checking groups said that YouTube, which Google owns, has become a major conduit of disinformation and misinformation globally, according to an Associated Press report.
In an open letter to CEO Susan Wojcicki, the fact-checking groups aid that YouTube's effort in implementing its policies geared to address the problem is not good enough, thus allowing itself to be an instrument for corrupt entities.
"On the contrary, YouTube is allowing its platform to be weaponized by unscrupulous actors to manipulate and exploit others, and to organize and fundraise themselves," the letter said.
Problem Also Prevalent In Non-English Countries
The groups noted that the problem is widespread in non-English speaking countries and unethical content creators in these areas were able to dodge YouTube's policies.
The fact-checking groups remarked that YouTube, which has been operating for 16 years, has become one of the "major conduits of online disinformation" in the world.
The group urged YouTube to take effective measures to fight the spread of disinformation and misinformation in its platform with the help of "independent, non-partisan fact-checking organizations."
Over 80 independent fact-checking organizations from all over the world have sent a letter to YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, calling upon her to take four clear measures against misinformation. https://t.co/TBdpbrnNWu#YouTubeOpenLetter— Noko Makgato (@nokolosh) January 12, 2022
"Our experience as fact-checkers together with academic evidence tells us that surfacing fact-checked information is more effective than deleting content," the letter says, as per Al Jazeera.
Fact-Checkers Willing To Help Address The Plague of Misinformation
The fact-checkers are all members of the International Fact-Checking Network, including Rappler in the Philippines, Africa Check, Science Feedback in France, and several other groups.
They propose to YouTube to focus more on providing context and placing superimposed debunks on videos found in violation. Fact-checkers also urged the company to impose sanctions on repeat offenders as well as to boost its efforts in fighting misinformation in other languages. The group said in its letter that the recommendation algorithms of YouTube must be fixed to ensure that the platform does not "actively promote" disinformation or recommend content created by untrustworthy channels among its users.
YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez in a statement, said the company has "invested heavily in policies and products" to bring reliable content to its users and combat the spread of misinformation. She added that YouTube is taking down "violative videos."
Hernandez acknowledges that fact-checking is a "crucial loop to help viewers make their own informed decisions." However, he sees it as a "piece of a much larger puzzle" in coming up with a solution to disinformation and misinformation.
Over the years, according to reports, YouTube and other social media platforms have been plagued by fake news, conspiracy theories, and hate speech, including misinformation on the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the loss of lives.
As per BBC News, Full Fact executive Will Moy said that YouTube should seek the assistance of fact-checkers to address the serious issue as "Bad information ruins lives."
"YouTube, like other internet companies, have up until now been allowed to mark their own homework. It cannot be left to internet companies to decide how to tackle bad information or choose how transparent to be about it." Moy said.
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