April 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – YouTube is now using fact-check information panels for viewers in the United States, flagging, among other things, what the company deems to be “misinformation” regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The company claimed the fact-check information panels are necessary in order “for viewers to get accurate information during fast-moving events.”
“The fact-check feature expands upon the other ways we raise and connect people with authoritative sources,” YouTube, which is part of the Google empire, explained.
In 2018, the video streaming platform had introduced information panels “that help surface a wide array of contextual information.” YouTube is now “using these panels to help address an additional challenge: Misinformation that comes up quickly as part of a fast-moving news cycle, where unfounded claims and uncertainty about facts are common.”
As an example, the company mentioned “a false report that COVID-19 is a bio-weapon.”
“Our fact-check information panels provide fresh context in these situations by highlighting relevant, third-party fact-checked articles above search results for relevant queries, so that our viewers can make their own informed decision about claims made in the news,” YouTube stated.
On April 19, Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, announced that all content contradicting the Word Health Organization (WHO) on the coronavirus pandemic would be removed from the video streaming platform.
“We also talk about removing information that is problematic,” she said. “Of course, anything that is medically unsubstantiated. So people saying, like, take vitamin C, you know, take turmeric, like, those are – will cure you. Those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy.”
She then specified that any content going “against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy. And so remove is another really important part of our policy.”
YouTube has been severely criticized for its policies of censorship.
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, tweeted that “(i)t is alarming that (YouTube) now relies on the (WHO)’s biased recommendations to decide what video content to take down.”
“The (WHO) gave inaccurate information about the spread of the virus, still parrots Chinese propaganda, and fought (President Donald Trump)’s China travel ban,” the senator pointed out.
“If Big Tech companies plan to police speech surrounding COVID-19, they need to rely on honest and objective experts. History repeats itself and (WHO) has proven to be untrustworthy promoters of Chinese propaganda.”
Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson referred to a deleted video that had gone viral, featuring two California doctors calling into question some of the policies implemented in the Golden State.
“Unfortunately, informed debate is precisely what the authorities don’t want,” Carlson pointed out. “They want unquestioned obedience. So they’re cracking down on free expression. Last night, the doctors’ video was pulled off YouTube. This wasn’t an accident. YouTube admitted doing it. The company cited a violation of ‘community guidelines,’ and did not apologize.”
According to 23ABC News based in Bakersfield, California, YouTube said in a statement that the company “quickly” removes “flagged content that violate our Community Guidelines, including content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local healthy authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance.”
At the same time, “content that provides sufficient educational, documentary, scientific or artistic (EDSA) context is allowed – for example, news coverage of this interview with additional context. From the very beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had clear policies against COVID-19 misinformation and are committed to continue providing timely and helpful information at this critical time.”
Carlson said, “Doctors who are actually treating patients with the virus have been banned. So, no, this is not about science. Censorship never is. It’s about power. Big technology companies are using this tragedy to increase their power over the American population.”
He likened the way America was going amid the coronavirus pandemic to China.
“Big companies partnering with the government to spy on you without your knowledge. Americans locked in their homes, banned from going to church, placated with sedatives like beer and weed. Anyone who speaks up is silenced. Political demonstrations are illegal. Organizers are arrested. Only opinions approved by unelected leaders are allowed on information platforms. Sound familiar? It sounds a lot like China.”
YouTube said their fact-check information panel would rely “on an open network of third-party publishers.” All publishers in the United States “are welcome to participate as long as they follow the publicly-available ClaimReview standards and are either a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network’s (IFCN) Code of Principles or are an authoritative publisher.”
Among the publishers currently participating in YouTube’s fact-check information panel are The Dispatch, FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and The Washington Post Fact Checker.