“YouTube allows its platform to be armed by unscrupulous actors to manipulate and exploit others and to organize and collect money,” the letter reads. “We urge you to take effective action against misinformation and misinformation and to develop a roadmap for policies and product interventions to improve the information ecosystem – and to do so with the world’s independent, non-partisan fact-checking organizations.”
In a call with journalists prior to the letter’s publication, members of several of the letter’s signatories said they had met several times with representatives of YouTube and the company’s siblings Google to discuss cooperation to combat misinformation, but said the company’s commitments still fell short .
“Nothing is moving, nothing is changing,” Cristina Tardáguila, founder of the Brazilian fact-checking organization Agencia Lupa and senior programming director at the International Center for Journalists, said during the call. “I think the big difference here … is that it’s time to actually push YouTube hard. They’ve been around for a long time.”
In a statement to CNN Business about the letter, YouTube spokeswoman Elena Hernandez called the fact check “an important tool” but “a piece in a much bigger puzzle to counter the spread of misinformation.”
“Over the years, we have invested heavily in policies and products in all countries, we operate to connect people to authoritative content, reduce the spread of cross-border misinformation and remove offensive videos,” Hernandez said. “We’ve seen significant progress in keeping the consumption of recommended cross-border misinformation significantly below 1% of all views on YouTube, and only about 0.21% of all views are offensive content, which we will remove later. We are always looking for meaningful ways to improve and will continue to strengthen our work with the fact-checking community. ”
But the fact-checking group says they want YouTube to create a clearer and more consistent system for working with fact-checking organizations. The letter urges YouTube to “publish its full moderation policy regarding misinformation and misinformation, including the use of artificial intelligence, and what data drives it.”
“YouTube’s focus should be on providing context and offering debunks, clearly overlaid on videos or as additional video content,” it states. “It can only come from engaging in meaningful and structured collaboration … and systematically investing in independent fact-checking efforts around the world.”
The letter’s signatories include fact – checking organizations from more than 46 countries, including Africa Check, Philippines Rappler; France’s science feedback; India’s Fact; Colombias Colombiacheck; and FactCheck.org and The Washington Post Fact Checker from the United States. The letter specifically highlights shortcomings in YouTube’s ability to moderate non-English language content, and raised concerns about the cross-border spread of misinformation.
“We want YouTube to be really serious about languages other than English, countries other than the United States,” said Carlos Hernández-Echevarría, head of public policy and institutional development at fact-checking and social media verification, Maldita. (YouTube’s Hernandez said the platform enforces its policies globally and that its systems work to reduce potentially infringing content and promote authoritative content worldwide.)
The letter also urges YouTube to take action against accounts whose content is repeatedly flagged as misinformation. Proposed actions include removing the ability of such accounts to monetize the content through ads or to point viewers towards external payment platforms and ensure that YouTube’s algorithm does not promote misinformation.
The letter’s signatories said they hope to meet with Wojcicki to discuss the implementation of their proposal to “make YouTube a platform that really does its best to prevent misinformation and misinformation from becoming weapons against its users and society as a whole. whole. ”