This is the start of an issue I have with a BBC article. The article is not wrong, it is merely short sighted and incorrect, yet the BBC did nothing wrong here. Let’s be clear about that. The shortsightedness comes from the complainers who want to blame Google (YouTube) for everything, but the larger picture is ignored and there my issue starts. The article (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-59967190) gives us ‘Fact-checkers label YouTube a ‘major conduit of online disinformation’’ I do not disagree here, it is, but when we get to ““livelihoods have been ruined, and far too many people have lost loved ones to disinformation”. It goes on to accuse YouTube of not making enough effort to address the problem, saying that it “is allowing its platform to be weaponised by unscrupulous actors to manipulate and exploit others”.” This is as I personally see it the moment the wheels comes from the wagon. Let’s take a look.
In the Netherlands there is a person named Willem Engel, he was removed from Twitter for violating rules. The man is a Dutch Covid conspiracy theorist. Now the removal seems plain and simple, yet he created close to half a dozen new accounts within 24 hours, some people go through that trouble and this is merely one person.
This reflects on YouTube as the same thing happens there, but the problem is a lot larger. First how large is this issue? Some sources give us that EVERY MINUTE 500 hours of video are uploaded, that gives us 720,000 hours of video EVERY DAY. This also sets a different premise as YouTube is visited by 122,000,000 people every day, over a billion hours of video are watched every day.
We are given ‘too many people have lost loved ones to disinformation’, yet who of them vet the information? We have to take responsibility people, we need to check and check the data and numbers given to us, we all do. And let’s not forget the disinformation does not merely come from conspiracy theorists. There are over 30 hedge funds channels on YouTube, yet we also get (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQEpHwYer-o), which comes from the University of Buffalo. So is one evidence of the other? Hedge funds are too often about deception, to grow they need your money, yet in the end it is still a heads or tails game. Where is the disinformation here? Where is the disinformation when game makers use young kids offering them the game if they can write something nice? How do you think influencers are made? I have seen video’s that do not seem to be deceptive, but until you bought and tested the product, you cannot tell, so how can YouTube?
We get food, we get it all the time, so we are influenced what YouTube video’s offer us and (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHjbujGPX8Q) we get the view of ‘Tricky Ways Fast Food Restaurants Deceive You’ and we get it, people can often not be completely honest when they are in marketing.
So here is the conundrum, which are misinformation? The first for certain, yet examples two and three? Who decides that? And whilst you are contemplating this, thousands more movies were uploaded.
So when I see “YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez told the Guardian the company was already investing in ways “to connect people to authoritative content, reduce the spread of borderline misinformation, and remove violative videos”.” I get the steps, but there is another step that these 80 group are ignoring. The need to make the act of spreading disinformation criminal, that is a stage they could take, but in the US there is the First Amendment, the US cannot act in Russia or China and the list of limitations goes on, and even in the US and UK (and many EU nations) we see a lack of acts mainly because the law was never meant for such actions and too many fear a first step towards a totalitarian state. I get it, but to blame YouTube again and again is just folly (but it seemingly give places the limelight they desire).
So when we we see ‘More context and debunks rather than just deleting videos’ we see the beginning of a dangerous premise towards censorship, also that is not on YouTube is it? Debunking information is YOUR job, it is called vetting information and it has been around since before the Sudan Wars (1885), Julius Caesar dealt with misinformation by coding his letters (2100 years ago) and the list goes on, so when did we become absent of common sense?
So when you give premise to “a British man who died with Covid-19 after refusing to be vaccinated, made – according to his family – a “terrible mistake” of being influenced by online anti-vaccine content.” As well as “Florida taxi driver Brian Lee Hitchens lost his wife to Covid-19 after they were influenced by Facebook content that claimed the pandemic is a hoax” consider that Dr. Faucci has been blowing the horn of vaccination for the longest time, a real scientist, so when were you stupid enough to listen to a nobody on Facebook, whilst a doctor who
- Joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a clinical associate in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’s (NIAID) Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI).
- He became head of the LCI’s Clinical Physiology Section in 1974
- In 1980 was appointed chief of the NIAID’s Laboratory of Immunoregulation.
- In 1984, he became director of the NIAID, a position he still holds.
- Fauci has been offered the position of director of the NIH several times, but has declined each time.
- Fauci has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts to contend with viral diseases like HIV/AIDS, SARS, the Swine flu, MERS, Ebola, and COVID-19.
- He played a significant role in the early 2000s in creating the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
- Driving development of biodefense drugs and vaccines following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
is largely ignored and debunked by nobodies, in some cases even by presidential nobodies. At what point does a nobody on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube have anywhere near these qualifications? So, we do not care if you kill yourself in one of the most stupid ways imaginable, however I think you need to stop whining like little chihuahua’s and just die so we can take your job and your house. The central point is vetting information and that is on us. Yes, I have been duped once or twice, but it needs to be a real clever person to dupe me (yes, it can still be done). So when I see another this will make you rich, or I can offer this house to you so cheap, I know it is a scam. You see people give good deals to friends and people they really know, if it is someone else then no one wants it, or it is a scam, scammers win by making you believe that you won the lottery even when you never bought a ticket.
My issue with the BBC article is that there is a much larger stage and the first step to that stage is the law, we all know it, but we all ignore it. Just like ‘Tax the rich’ (tax laws), we seem to fall for it every time and it saddens me. In the 70’s I was a youngling (almost a youngling) and I was trying to become smarter and around me were people that were smart (some only made that claim), now it seems that no one takes the trouble to investigate, the answers are on social media and there every minute another sucker is born. Yet in all this, how do the fact checkers look at government propaganda? How do they see through media filters that intentionally keep you in the dark? As the barrier between news organisations and filtered information bringers goes ever thinner, fact checking goes out the window. So let’s not blame YouTube for all this, perhaps more could be done, I will never deny that, but what an be done when people are unwilling to test the setting against the law, that first step? And in all this I reckon that TikTok and Facebook also bare some of the blame, but they are not mentioned here are they?
So when we see the article end with “It cannot be left to internet companies to decide how to tackle bad information or choose how transparent to be about it” we see an uncomfortable statement that is not wrong, but who will do this? Oh, and to be clear who will check TikTok? And how will these be checked? More important, what will we do about the disinformation up-loaders? That too deserves attention, if we are not willing to prosecute them and when we are unable to prosecute them, how can any of this be with YouTube/Google?
If you want to stop disinformation, you need to factcheck yourself, that has been a truth for millennia and we forget that part of the equation a little too often, do we not?