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YouTube Struggles With Misinformation As Falsehoods Relating To Controversial Issues Surge On The Platform

It’s no surprise that YouTube has struggled with combating misinformation for a while now. And the company’s CEO Susan Wojcicki confirmed that in her latest statement, reports Bloomberg.

Wojcicki said that while a significant amount of progress has been made over the last 6 to 8 years, you can’t deny the issues that continue to bring the platform down. Therefore, the company has plenty of room for improvement.

The news comes as YouTube revealed how negatively it has been affected by falsehoods pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the election campaigns. Both trending categories have produced a massive surge of misinformation, despite the firm’s efforts to establish a crackdown.

As the CEO revealed, people have plenty of incentives coming their way when it comes down to making up stories and spreading incorrect information. These statements were announced at the recent World Economic Forum that was held in Davos.

Wojcicki made it a point to touch upon a wide range of categories in her discussion including the ongoing war in Ukraine and even her own take on the Roe v. Wade abortion controversy too. And according to her, the challenge has always been there and will continue to remain for a while.

What’s important is how platforms like YouTube plans on staying ahead of it all while making sure they comprehend what and where the misinformation sources are coming from.

We’ve seen the world’s most popular video streaming platform have its fair share of obstacles in this regard. Be it conspiracies, rumors, or just fake stories uprising- the trend never seems to fail.

This year in January, a large group of fact-checkers collaborated in writing an open letter to the company, penning down their complaints and asking the firm to crack down on such alarming behavior.

Similarly, they spoke about how the app tends to escape scrutiny despite displaying false-themed content on a large scale. And that too, on a daily basis.

On the other hand, in April of this year, we saw YouTube be accused by two leading American universities of enabling resentful audiences to gain easy access to a wide array of content that is deemed to be extremist in nature from the platform itself.

And while the CEO denies seeing that particular report, the questions are plenty in so many people’s minds. Instead of acknowledging the facts, the CEO instead chose to highlight other reports that put YouTube in good books.

One particular research highlighted by YouTube’s CEO spoke of the company’s diligent efforts of how it’s now tackling misinformation spread. This includes cutting down on misinformation spread through the implementation of various policies that even eliminate content that lies on the borderline of being false.

The research goes on to mention how YouTube through its current efforts was only missing out on nearly 10 or 12 videos that violated its policies per views ranging from 100,000 and beyond.

Wojcicki then went on to delineate the great challenges that the app faces in controlling online content when compounded with a global crisis. And the best example to date was the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

In the year 2019, we saw YouTube take stringent measures when it was accused of spreading hate and allowing controversial content about the Holocaust to be aired on the platform. And that’s when they took the decision to allow the elimination of violent content broadcasts relating to any hateful ideologies, amid a huge public outcry.

And during the start of this year, we saw YouTube continue with its decision to remove such controversial content that again denied the ongoing Ukraine and Russian conflict or trivialized its true existence. Similarly, we saw the platform blocking different creator channels that were linked to or sponsored by the Russian government like Sputnik.

Despite all these facts, it’s amazing to see how YouTube is still not banned in Russia and has continued with its usual operations as it delivers uninterrupted news across the nation.

The YouTube CEO says the platform refuses to give in to anything that abandons free speech.

And when asked about the controversial Roe v. Wade move by the American Supreme Court, the CEO briefly mentioned how she feels every woman has the right to choose when she wishes to be a mom. Hence, taking away that right was wrong and a major setback in her eyes.


Photo: Susan Wojcicki / YT

Read next: YouTube is now enabling timed reactions through emojis on Android and Apple

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