From: Exit Staff
Albanian Fact-Checking Organisations Joins Call on YouTube to Step Up Fight Against Misinformation

A group of 80 international fact-checking organisations, including Albanian site Faktoje, have called on YouTube to step up safeguards around fake news and disinformation on its platform.

An open letter was sent to CEO Susan Wojcicki, calling for new recommendations to stop the spread of misinformation on the platform, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The world has seen time and time again how destructive disinformation and misinformation can be for social harmony, democracy, and public health; too many lives and livelihoods have been ruined, and far too many people have lost loved ones to disinformation,” they wrote.

Noting that their job is to monitor how lies spread online, they said that “every day, we see that YouTube is one of the major conduits of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide. This is a significant concern among our global fact-checking community.”

They claimed that YouTube had not made much effort to implement policies addressing the problem. Instead, the platform continues to allow itself to be weaponised by ” unscrupulous actors to manipulate and exploit others, and to organise and fundraise themselves.”

Current measures are insufficient, they said while urging them to take effective action against both misinformation and disinformation and to create a roadmap of policy and product interventions to improve the information ecosystem.

They highlighted conspiracy groups spreading fake news across borders, including encouraging the boycotting of vaccinations or using bogus cures to treat the virus. They also noted how the platform is used to amplify hate speech against vulnerable groups, spread fake news during elections, and spread fraudulent narratives.

“The examples are too many to count. Many of those videos and channels remain online today, and they all went under the radar of YouTube’s policies, especially in non-English speaking countries and the Global South,” they continued.

The organisations proposed that YouTube commit to meaningful transparency about disinformation, offer debunks superimposed on videos, take action against repeat offenders, and expand efforts to other languages, not just English.

In Albania, misinformation is rife not just on Youtube but on other social media platforms as well. Vaccination rates remain some of the lowest in Europe, despite vaccination being open for all.