Google’s video-sharing website YouTube is now constantly monitoring the content posted on its platform from India. Why? To check misinformation and violence as there has been a reported rise in ‘interest’ among the netizens of the country – the reason for which, the company holds is, the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
From March onwards, YouTube has started providing information panel in India on certain events, topics, publishers along with search and videos to make users aware of context and videos they watch, PTI reported.
Youtube’s statement a month before the commencement of Lok Sabha elections 2019 and a day after messaging app WhatsApp said it will take more measures to curb down viral and fake news.
Fake news, hoax and doctored videos have thrived on Youtube for years now – without any concrete measures being taken. In 2016, after demonetisation, videos with rumours of new notes embedded with GPS microchips in them started doing rounds on the video sharing site.
When asked about surge in the trend of fake news and misinformative content on YouTube especially after the announcement of the upcoming general elections, YouTube News Partnerships Director Tim Katz said, “Right now, certainly, there is a rise in interest because of the election but we continue to monitor and take down content,” reported PTI. Read Also| Angry over his YouTube account removal, man creates ruckus at Google HQ; His wife actually deleted the account Mentioning that misinformation in general is a broad problem across the world, Katz added, “We are constantly trying to have a balancing act between freedom of expression, keeping that content up and again going back to our product principle of allowing our users to make a decision on their own. We want to provide enough context and information for them to decide.”
However, the company is taking down content when the videos are showing something that violates their guidelines and policies, or hoaxes that are potentially harmful.
“As we think about misinformation there are a lot of types of misinformation. Certain content that might just be inaccurate, it is there we provide additional context. In case of violative content we will remove it entirely,” Katz explained.
Tech giant Google has committed USD 25 million to filter out fake news from its platform. Under this commitment, Google and its subsidiaries are also building partnerships with third parties to cross check information that is being uploaded on its platform. In India itself, YouTube has partnered with as many as 10 entities run a fact check on the information uploaded on its platform.
According to Kurtz, Around 500 hours of content is being uploaded on YouTube every minute and the company is now using artificial intelligence and machine learning to verify and pull down, if need be, as many content as they can, even before they get the first view. YouTube aligns and checks its content as per the local law to “see if actually applies on that instance before we take any action on removing that content.”
On the issue of monitoring of deep fake video especially with elections around the corner, Katz said that it has not emerged as a major issue yet and is ‘mostly being used for entertainment purposes.’