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YouTube pulled 1 million Covid-19 misinformation videos

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Meme

More than 1 million harmful videos have been removed from YouTube since February 2020 for containing Covid-19 misinformation. The video-sharing platform that is one of the most visited websites in the world, second only to its parent company Google, announced on Wednesday the total after criticism that YouTube is a major source of Covid-19 disinformation.

Politicians and government leaders have lambasted YouTube for allowing so much false and harmful information to be easily shared and spread, causing confusion about science and facts in a sea of misinformation readily available on the site. YouTube posted in a blog that it has removed one million videos by using expert consensus from sources like the US Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organisation, and other health organisations.

YouTube has also removed “thousands” of videos since the November presidential elections in the United States what violated their policies on election misinformation which contributed to the violent insurrection on January 6 of people believing the election was not legitimate. They say about 75% of those videos had less than 100 views.

The Chief Product Officer of YouTube reiterates their policies that draw the removal line on any video that can directly lead to egregious real-world harm, but the blog post pointed out that many times misinformation isn’t so clear-cut, especially in the case of an ongoing pandemic where new research, data, and information is constantly being released.

YouTube says every quarter they remove nearly 10 million videos for a variety of reasons. Most have less than 10 views. So the removal of videos is not uncommon, but with the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of videos that present harmful information like fake cures or claims that the virus is a hoax have made the need for fast response more obvious.

The site is working to create processes to quickly remove YouTube videos with disinformation while at the same time providing resources for accurate, factual information from expert sources in an effort to counter the effects of the misinformation. They acknowledge the importance of these actions during a global health crisis.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, everyone should be armed with absolutely the best information available to keep themselves and their families safe… The most important thing we can do is increase the good and decrease the bad [information].”

YouTube pulled 1 million Covid-19 misinformation videos | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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