In Summary
  • The Google-owned video sharing platform has remained firm that while it removes content violating its policies against hate, violence, and scams it does not censor ideas expressed in accordance with its rules
  • The portion of potentially misleading videos climbed to 21 percent for YouTube searches on the term "climate manipulation"
  • Last year, consumption on "channels" of authoritative news publishers at the platform grew by 60 percent

YouTube has driven millions of viewers to climate denial videos, a US advocacy group charged Thursday as it called for stopping "free promotion of misinformation" at the platform.

In response to the report by US-based online activist group Avaaz, YouTube said it downplays "borderline" video content while spotlighting authoritative sources and displaying information boxes on searches related to climate change and other topics.

The Google-owned video sharing platform has remained firm that while it removes content violating its policies against hate, violence, and scams it does not censor ideas expressed in accordance with its rules.

"Our recommendations systems are not designed to filter or demote videos or channels based on specific perspectives," YouTube said in response to an AFP inquiry.

SCRUTINY

The company added that it has "significantly invested in reducing recommendations of borderline content and harmful misinformation, and raising up authoritative voices."

New York-based Avaaz said it scrutinised results of YouTube searches using the terms "global warming," "climate change," and "climate manipulation" to see what was offered by an "up next" feature and as suggestions.

Sixteen percent of the top 100 videos served up in relation to the term "global warming" contained misinformation, with the top 10 of those averaging more than a million views each, according to Avaaz.

The portion of potentially misleading videos climbed to 21 percent for YouTube searches on the term "climate manipulation" but fell to eight percent for searches using the term "climate change," according to Avaaz.

"This is not about free speech, this is about the free advertising," Avaaz senior campaigner Julie Deruy said in a release.

"YouTube is giving factually inaccurate videos that risk confusing people about one of the biggest crises of our time."

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