Today, the Notre Dame cathedral caught fire. While more than one person on Twitter made the point that watching something beautiful burn while you look on helplessly was a pretty good metaphor for 2019, this report from Ryan Broderick of Buzzfeed News was extremely 2019:
Several news outlets quickly started livestreaming the fire on YouTube. However, underneath several of them was a small gray panel titled “September 11 attacks,” which contained a snippet from an Encyclopedia Britannica article about 9/11.
The feature is part of a larger rollout of tools and disclaimers to prevent users from consuming misinformation on the platform.
If a user clicked the gray box, they would be taken to the full article about the US terror attack.
BuzzFeed News found at least three livestreams of the Notre Dame fire from major news outlets with the 9/11 disclaimer. The disclaimer was then removed, one by one, after several minutes. But by then, Twitter users had taken notice.
Remember how YouTube finally decided it was going to do something about willfully misleading conspiracy theories on their site? And how YouTube’s countermeasures are literally just “linking to Wikipedia?” I don’t know why I assumed YouTube was going to hire people to do said linking, because of course they’re not. They’re trying to teach machines to recognize misleading videos and also simultaneously recognize the right Wikipedia page which viewers need to read to avoid becoming radicalized by YouTube’s endless feed of videos.
What a farce.