YouTube’s reasoning for keeping misinformation up is feeble

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Social media has been a focus of the US elections and for the most part Twitter and Facebook have responded to misinformation rather well.

But YouTube is rather problematic with several videos claiming President Trump had been re-elected still up on the platform and still drawing in views.

It’s something Bloomberg journalist Mark Bergen has also noted this week.

“A new morning ritual: open up the latest OAN ‘Trump won’ YouTube video. See ad. Ask Google about it. Hear from Google later in day that they are removing ads from that video. Rinse, repeat,” the journo tweeted on Thursday.

This tweet seemingly garnered enough attention to prompt a response from YouTube itself. The response however, leaves much to be desired.

“Like other companies, we’re allowing these videos because discussion of election results and the process of counting votes is allowed on YouTube. These videos are not being surfaced or recommended in any prominent way,” the YouTube Insider account tweeted. This account details updates for the press.

Taking a look at OANN’s YouTube page we noted something interesting. Videos regarding the elections have many more views than the channel’s other content.

If YouTube is being genuine and these videos aren’t being shared in any “prominent way” one has to ask where these views are coming from.

The obvious answer is that folks are actively seeking out these sorts of videos and this is where the problem arises.

Later in a threaded response to Bergen’s tweet YouTube said, “The most popular videos about the election are from authoritative news organizations. On average, 88% of the videos in top-10 results in the U.S. come from high-auth sources when people search for election-related content.”

“Our panels linking to Google’s election results feature, which we display on our homepage, on videos and in searches, have collectively been shown billions of times. You can see it under these videos, too,” it added.

To us this strikes as YouTube not being fully cognisant of the reach the content on its platform has.

Simply put, this is not good enough.

This report from Vice showcases just how quickly misinformation can spread and how grifters leverage that to make a quick buck.

We understand that YouTube is a private entity and it can do whatever it wants within the confines of the law but next to Twitter and Facebook, YouTube’s response to misinformation on its platform is pathetic.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.