You Tube May be the Originator of Mis/Dis Information we see on Social Media Platforms

We are no stranger to the dis & misinformation that is circulating throughout the internet. It’s one of the most hotly debated topic in the media currently and for go reason. The finger is constantly being pointed at FaceBook and Twitter, as the main perpetrator of allowing this content to flow on their platforms. In actuality where we should be focusing on is You Tube.

According to a Pew Research Center study 81 % of internet users around the world  have a You Tube account. You Tube by far dominates the landscape and many of the mis & disinformation we see on Facebook and Twitter originate from You Tube. You Tube has said that there are on average a billon hours of videos being watch on their site daily and is available in eighty different languages. Now think how fast lie could spread with those kind of numbers, it’s practically instant.

In a NPR news reports, Kate Starbird, the co-founder and researcher at the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington in Seattle has conducted research on the spread disinformation on You Tube. In her research she found:

“Over and over again, YouTube is the dominant domain in those conversations. It’s not Facebook. They’re all pulling in content from YouTube. So what YouTube does is it creates these content resources that get mobilized on other platforms. And so it’s not just a problem within YouTube; it’s actually a problem for the whole information ecosystem – the fact that YouTube hosts and allows those videos to be resources that are repeatedly mobilized in these other platforms at opportunistic times to spread mis- and disinformation.”

Sharing video across different platform is pretty seamless today and only take a click of a button. Unlike twitter where there data is completely accessible. You Tube is hardest platform to collect data on because set data limit whereas twitter what you see on there is accessible to the public.

Kate Starbird explains that because of these rate limits they can’t create data set that explain trends occurring on the platform.

“On YouTube, there are very few sort of APIs that we can use, and the ones we use, we very quickly run into rate limits, where we’re only allowed to collect so much data. For that reason, we really can’t see the larger-scale phenomena, like misinformation and disinformation, with much resolution. We can see, you know, pieces here and there, but we can’t systematically collect large-scale data from YouTube to use in our research.”

This is a huge problem and until we are able to dissect you data it is unlikely we will be able to successfully battle against Mis and dis information on other platforms.

The Difference Between Mis & Dis Information

According Merriam Webster here are definition of misinformation, disinformation, and lie are stated below.

Definition of misinformation

incorrect or misleading information

Definition of disinformation

false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth

Definition of lie 

to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive

As a student journalist I have made the mistake of interchanging misinformation and disinformation without realizing that they mean completely different things. Which then has me thinking about politicians, anchor, pun-dents, You tube host, etc and there use of the two words. Are they being calculated or are they just as unaware as I was? Disinformation has malicious intent and misinformation is more like misguided information transmitted through different avenues that weren’t e fact checked.

I just don’t understand why lie and disinformation isn’t under the same umbrella based off of the definition or at least synonyms on one another. There are basically the same thing. The intention is to decisive and lie and portray false information to be made to look like a fact.

It is important to understand the difference between both words clear because not every piece of content on the internet that is false is not necessarily disinformation. In the case of satire or comedy because the content is for comedic purposes with false information it wouldn’t be categorized as a disinformation. Which creates a complicated gray zone because now someone can write off there beliefs in conspiracy and fake news as comedy.

In the case of You Tube where 80% of internet users have accounts. They are strict on how much data is collect of there site. Which creates a big problem for researcher because it makes it difficult to find  trends of mis and dis information and how much of it is being spread on other platform like Facebook and Twitter.

So before we label something as dis or mis information we have to first need to understand what the intention behind the content being produced that has false information. It’s the difference between a simple mistake versus and a liar.