- YouTube anti-conspiracy theory filters identified the live Notre Dame fire as footage from 2001
- YouTube has temporarily disabled the algorithms specifically for the Notre Dame fire
On April 15th, the Notre Dame Cathedral went ablaze in what the authorities believe was the result of an electrical failure. Several news firms began showing the video online on YouTube. However, youtube’s algorithm accidentally flagged such footage as belonging to the terror attacks on 9/11.
In its defense, the YouTube spokesperson apologized for the issue in what he termed to be a ‘wrong call’:
“These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call. We are disabling these panels for live streams related to the fire.”
The spokesperson moved on to say that are “deeply saddened by the fire”.
It was in 2018 when the Chief Executive Officer (YouTube), Susan Wojcicki unveiled the information boxes on YouTube. These boxes would work on algorithms to help distinguish conspiracy theories and fake videos from genuine ones posted on the platform. According to Susan, the feature would depend on data from other websites such as Wikipedia to aid it to perform this function.
Conspiracy theories thriving on Youtube
Feuds have over time revolved around YouTube over the nature and reliability of videos being posted online. Being the largest public video platform in the world, there has been a need to review and police footage uploads. The company has resolved to use human specialists and applications to counter these conspiracy theories.
For instance, in March there was a video online about an attack on mosques in New Zealand. The video received a lot of criticism on social media. Similarly, in this incident (the Cathedral fire), YouTube has become victim of fake news just like another a Twitter account (@CNNpolitics2020) lampooning CNN that was suspended. The phony account had made announcements that the fire was an “act of terrorism.”
Laurent Nunez, the French Deputy Interior Minister, said that the police are still investigating the cause of the fire. Twitter Inc in a statement assured to take action “in line with our rules.”