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.