YouTube has a big climate change misinformation problem it can't solve
The US nonprofit Avaaz has a new report detailing how YouTube is actively spreading climate misinformation to millions of viewers through its recommendation algorithms, including videos with exciting titles like, ahem, "CIA Whistleblower Speaks Out About Climate Engineering Vaccination Dangers and 911.".
YouTube and other social media platforms do want to limit the spread of misinformation and hate speech, if only to relieve social pressure and defend their reputations. Social media platforms may well be, as Dawn Stover argues in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, bad for the climate.
We'll look at the kind of reflective self-regulation that's important at both the individual and social level, why the institutions meant to do it in the US have become so weak, and why YouTube can't hope to fill the breach. The media world has since become split between a mainstream media that goes on believing it is an S2 institution, unbiased and transpartisan, and a growing right-wing media universe convinced that the MSM is liberal and that there are no S2 institutions, only competing factions, their truth or ours.
The question is, if only one of America's two warring factions believes the information that mainstream institutions produce, abides by their rules, or socially propagates their norms, are they still S2 institutions at all? Are there still S2 institutions?
Social media platforms are being put in an impossible position Social media platforms have been under attack for allowing the spread of misinformation and hate speech, from Facebook's alleged role in Myanmar's Rohingya genocide to YouTube's spread of alt-right videos to Twitter's hosting of frequent harassment campaigns. In Avaaz's worldview and value set, science is an S2 institution and climate science, as part of it, warrants trust.
Beyond overt science denialism, what about videos arguing that climate change damage projections are exaggerated, or that the climate is less sensitive to emissions than conventionally assumed, or that climate change is not as bad a problem as poverty or hunger? Where is the line between misinformation and legitimate dissent? Do we want YouTube drawing it?
As private companies, social media platforms will always be more averse to controversy than they are committed to limiting misinformation. Of all the institutions in American life, private social media companies are the least likely to hold the line against social dissolution. Social trust is declining; as it does, institutions have a harder time operating effectively; as they stumble, it further reduces social trust.
Source : Vox