In an open letter published Wednesday through journalism non-profit Poynter Institute, more than 80 fact-checking organizations addressed YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, citing a list of conspiracy theories and misinformation that have spread around the globe in the last few years. The letter said YouTube is being weaponized by unscrupulous actors.
“That is why we urge you to take effective action against disinformation and misinformation, and to elaborate a roadmap of policy and product interventions to improve the information ecosystem – and to do so with the world’s independent, non-partisan fact-checking organizations,” the letter says.
YouTube didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
YouTube, like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and many other internet companies that give users a platform to post their own content, has grappled with how to balance freedom of expression with effective policing of the worst material posted on its site. Over the years, YouTube has grappled with different kinds of misinformation; conspiracy theories; discrimination; hate and harassment; child abuse and exploitation and videos of mass murder, all at an unprecedented global scale.
YouTube has modified its policies and enforcement practices to try to adapt to dangerous content on its platform. Recently, it has, and misinformation. Critics of YouTube argue that the company’s content moderation efforts still fall short too often.
The letter went on to list proposed solutions, including taking stronger action against repeat offenders, making greater efforts in languages other than English, and further working with and investing in independent fact-checking organizations.