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YouTube is being ‘weaponized,’ fact-checkers say

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According to fact-finding organizations around the world, YouTube has paved the way for “unscrupulous actors” to “manipulate and exploit” their users.

According to an open letter posted on Poynter.org and signed by the International Fact-Finding Network, in a public statement addressed to their CEO, Susan Wojciechki, the organizations accused YouTube of “allowing its platform to be armed”. 83 fact-checking teams from dozens of countries, including FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and the Washington Post Fact Checker, are among the U.S.-based cosigners.

“We don’t see much effort by YouTube to implement a policy aimed at solving the problem,” they wrote. “On the contrary, YouTube allows its platform to be manipulated and exploited by others, as well as armed by unscrupulous actors to organize themselves and raise funds.”

They added: “Current measures are not enough.”

The letter explains that YouTube’s policy of “deleting or not deleting” videos does not go far enough to mitigate the spread of misinformation and misinformation, and urges the social media company to do so. to keep some malicious posts, if such videos also reinforce proven, corrective content.

Examples of such unnatural and “fake” content on YouTube showed the particularly dire digital environment in the global south. The network pointed to a number of worrying trends that have taken place over the past two years, such as the flourishing of hate speech in Brazil or widespread government propaganda in the Philippines.

“Many of these videos and channels are still online today, and they are all on the radar of YouTube policy, especially in non-English-speaking countries and the global south.

At the same time, the government’s conspiracy is “thriving and cooperating across borders,” urging people to deny medical science and avoid the COVID-19 vaccine.

The authors then jointly describe four “solutions” that make a “big difference”: making their moderation policy transparent and public, providing and supporting language and country-specific information, and aggression with “over-the-top” corrections reject and invest in fact-checkers. and independent research.

“We are ready and able to help YouTube,” they offer, to meet with YouTube CEO Voychicki, one of Google’s founders more than 20 years ago.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Elena Hernandez, a spokeswoman for YouTube, said the company “has made a significant contribution to the policies and products of all the countries in which we operate to link people to reputable content, reduce cross-border misinformation and remove offensive videos. has invested, “he said.

He called fact-checking an “important tool,” but stressed that his emphasis was “part of a larger puzzle to solve the spread of misinformation.”

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