A group of professional fact checkers believes the fate of the Republic and democracy itself rests on YouTube giving professional fact checkers buckets of money and lifetime employment.
I mean, the fate of the republic and democracy itself rests on providing sober counter-narratives to damaging misinformation.
That's what I meant to say.
Something like that, anyway.
Let's take a close look at that letter as it is... revealing.
It's been almost two years since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The world has seen time and time again how destructive disinformation and misinformation can be for social harmony,...
Interesting choice of words. I don't recall that being a core tenet of American liberty. Where have I come across that before?
...democracy, and public health; too many lives and livelihoods have been ruined, and far too many people have lost loved ones to disinformation.
Disinformation is the disease, and underemployed liberal arts majors are the cure.
As an international network of fact-checking organizations,...
"As a bunch of contract workers sitting in our mothers' basements..."
...we monitor how lies spread online — and everyday, we see that...
FACT CHECK: "Partly True." While not materially misleading, in this context, the use of the two-word "every day" would add important grammatical clarity.
...YouTube is one of the major conduits of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide. This is a significant concern among our global fact-checking community.
They like each other's TikTok videos.
What we do not see is much effort by YouTube to implement policies that address the problem. On the contrary, YouTube is allowing its platform to be weaponized by unscrupulous actors to manipulate and exploit others, and to organize and fundraise themselves. Current measures are proving insufficient. That is why we urge you to take effective action against disinformation and misinformation, and to elaborate a roadmap of policy and product interventions to improve the information ecosystem...
And here comes the money shot, literally:
...and to do so with the world's independent, non-partisan fact-checking organizations.
Now all we need are "independent, non-partisan fact-checking organizations."
They go on to document human beings perpetuating various frauds – many of which are legitimately bad – but humans gonna human, and as free citizens most of us have come to accept the fact that there is no Nigerian Prince and no fortune tied up in a foreign bank account for which a small up-front fee is needed to release the funds.
They then add this:
The whole world witnessed the consequences of disinformation when a violent mob assaulted the U.S. Capitol last year. From the eve of the U.S. presidential election to the day after, YouTube videos supporting the "fraud" narrative were watched more than 33 million times.
I'm sure having a bunch of predominantly left-leaning fact checkers (Washington Post Fact-Checker and PolitiFact are among the signatories) suppressing political narratives they disfavor will help "social harmony" to flourish.
Of course, what this all really comes down to is a protection racket.
With all this in mind, we propose some solutions that would make a great deal of difference in reducing the dissemination of disinformation and misinformation on YouTube.
Nice little social media company you got here. Be a shame if anything happened to it...
A commitment to meaningful transparency about disinformation on the platform: YouTube should support independent research about the origins of the different misinformation campaigns, their reach and impact, and the most effective ways to debunk false information.
You wouldn't want there to be an "accidental" fire or political pressure, would you?
Beyond removing content for legal compliance, YouTube's focus should be on providing context and offering debunks, clearly superimposed on videos or as additional video content. That only can come from entering into a meaningful and structured collaboration taking the responsibility and systematically investing in independent fact-checking efforts around the world that are working to solve these issues.
We are ready and able to help YouTube.
We wish to meet with you to discuss these matters and find ways forward on a collaboration and look forward to your response to this offer.
It's a marketing come-on dressed up as a public service announcement.
Once again, it's the scam they say they claim to want to protect us from.
As for the purported public service element of it, the notion that a cabal of self-anointed "fact-checkers" passing down judgment on what constitutes a "fact" – including political interpretations and fluid and incomplete understandings of, say, a pandemic – is not the real threat to "social harmony" is laughable on its face.
Let's leave the conversation open to everyone, absent overseers. I think we've had enough of that already.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it looks like the impending expiration of my car warranty could leave me vulnerable to costly repairs...
P.S. Now check out our latest video: "A word about Bob Saget and the topic we try to ignore" 👇