In the wake of the alt right and Donald Trump, YouTube has taken a number of measures to deal with the onslaught of fake news, which is capturing and converting minds to the alt right at an alarming rate. In line with a shared policy among tech giants, YouTube is steadily changing its platform to make it harder and harder for fake news to reach new people, containing the damage to those already under the alt right’s spell. The following are some of the innovative ways in which YouTube is improving the quality of content that reaches its users:
Many youtubers only watch videos that tweak their interest in their notifications. The notifications bell forces them to manually sift through their many subscriptions and pick the channels that they’re really interested in, thereby reducing the number of fake news stories that reach them from channels they don’t normally watch.
The Heroes Program rewards youtubers for flagging videos as fake news and hate speech, allowing them to become members of the exclusive Heroes Club. Elite members of the Heroes Club are invited to an annual Heroes Summit with other like-minded progressives, where they will be wined, dined and praised by top YouTube executives.
YouTube’s new restricted mode option hides fake news and hate speech altogether, allowing youtubers to enjoy high quality, non-offensive content. The following screenshots demonstrate how fake news is hidden in restricted mode, while real news is left untouched:
There have been many reports of youtubers being automatically unsubscribed from channels. YouTube is yet to admit that they have such a program, but it may be a covert operation to tackle fake news, in which case they deserve praise and admiration.
Targeting Individual Channels
YouTube has been banning, demonetizing and de-trending popular youtubers for posting hateful, fake or inappropriate content that challenges or mocks progressive narratives.
These are some very encouraging steps towards ending fake news and hate speech, but sadly much more needs to be done to truly fix this problem. While Facebook remains largely free of hateful and misleading content and Twitter is cracking down hard on it, YouTube has become a dumping ground for alt right propaganda, where many progressives no longer feel safe. We need to make the internet a safe space for progressives, and we cannot let the most popular media platform on the web become a breeding ground for extremism. It’s time to shut down these hateful youtubers once and for all, so that the people can get the quality, trustworthy and non-offensive content that they deserve.