Youtube is “one of the main channels of disinformation and false information online ”from the world, according to more than eighty fact-checking organizations that have asked the company to adopt at least four measures to reverse this situation.
In a letter addressed to the executive director of Youtube, Susan Wojcicki, verification organizations from 40 countries refer to videos posted on that platform that “have caused real damage in everyday life” and that, nevertheless, have passed under the radar of current company policies.
These cases are proof that the policies put in place by Youtube to combat the disinformation They are “insufficient” and “do not work”, consider the verification groups, among them, the Spanish Maldita and Newtral; the Mexican Political Animal-The Hound; ColombiaCheck, or the Venezuelan Cotejo.info.
A situation that is “even worse” in non-English speaking countries and in the so-called Global South, where company policies “are exercised even less,” the letter says.
Faced with this situation, they urge Wojcicki to implement at least four measures, including a commitment to transparency on how the population travels. disinformation on the platform and publicly disclose its policies to address it, including the use of artificial intelligence.
Instead of deleting videos, checkers of data ask Youtube that focuses on providing the right context, which they believe can be done by “establishing meaningful and structured collaboration” with organizations of verification of facts.
The signatories reject what they consider attempts to Youtube of framing the entire debate as “a false choice” between deleting videos or not, and they say that “the available evidence” indicates that providing verified information is more effective than removing content.
In this way, “freedom of expression is preserved while mitigating the risks of harm to life, health, security and democratic processes.”
Another request is that the platform act against violators repeat offenders who produce content constantly marked as disinformation and “prevent your videos from being recommended or promoted by algorithms of the company ”.
In addition, they urge that these efforts be expanded to languages other than English and that country- and language-specific data be provided, as well as effective transcription services.
Youtube by “inaction or by policies that do not work” is allowing this disinformation, but also the existence of groups that have organized, especially during the pandemic, the media told the responsable of Public Policy and Institutional Development of the Spanish verification group Maldita.es, Carlos Hernández.
Thus, the letter indicates, Youtube it allows its platform “to be used as a weapon by unscrupulous actors to manipulate and exploit others, and to organize and raise funds.”
The verification groups want the company to “take steps towards transparency,” Hernández said, since they do not know much about what the platform does or how it decides what it is or not. disinformation.
The checkers express in their letter the will to commit to Youtube to put those demands into practice and that the platform actually does everything it can to prevent the disinformation and false information become “weapons against their users and society in general “.