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Mon Apr 15, 2019, 09:24 PM

A computerized YouTube fact-checking tool goes very wrong: In flaming Notre Dame, it somehow sees Se

Source: Washington Post

A computerized YouTube fact-checking tool goes very wrong: In flaming Notre Dame, it somehow sees Sept. 11 tragedy

By Craig Timberg and Drew Harwell April 15 at 5:59 PM

A new YouTube tool for battling misinformation failed in a highly public way on Monday, wrongly linking video of the flaming collapse of the spire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

As images of the iconic tower falling played on newscasts around the world — and on the YouTube channels mirroring those newscasts — “information panels” appeared in boxes below the videos providing details about the collapses of New York’s World Trade Center after the terrorist attack, which killed thousands of people. There appeared to be few injuries in the Paris fire.

The 9/11 tragedy is a frequent subject of hoaxes, and the information panels were posted automatically, likely because of visual similarities that computer algorithms detected between the two incidents. YouTube began rolling out the information panels providing factual information about the subjects of frequent hoaxes in the past few months.

The misfire underscored the ongoing limits of computerized tools for detecting and combating misinformation — as well as their potential for inadvertently fueling it. While major technology companies have hired tens of thousands of human moderators in recent years, Silicon Valley executives have said that computers are faster and more efficient at detecting problems.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/04/15/computerized-youtube-fact-checking-tool-goes-very-wrong-flaming-notre-dame-it-somehow-sees-sept-tragedy/

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