In the past, people learned about what was happening in the world through letters from other people. Word of mouth also played a significant role in how people connected with information. A person tells the story, and those who listen will tell it to others. Then came the newspapers, radio shows, and TV shows. For a while, people learned about the news through these. But now, there’s a new method. Social media platforms have become many people’s go-to places to look for information.
YouTube is one of them. It is a platform focused on videos. So, news organizations and independent journalists can use it for their shows. Since YouTube is the second most-visited website in the world, it provides those entities with a wide reach. Thus, news spread like wildfire.
There are problems with it, though. Anyone can be a content creator on YouTube, and it does not review content before letting them through. So, people can use the platform to spread misinformation and disinformation.
If many people believe those false narratives, it would not be good. Once, a man traveled to a Ping-pong and pizzeria in Washington D.C. and fired his AR-15 assault rifle. His reason for doing so: a conspiracy theory said that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was sex-trafficking minors in the place. Thankfully, nobody was hurt in the shooting.
That’s just one event that shows the real-world consequences of misinformation. But it is enough for one to say that it’s important to stop the spread of any false narratives. There are truths and myths about buying real YouTube views to promote misinformation, which is critical in a time of war.
Right now, there is an ongoing war in Ukraine. As you would expect, there’s propaganda. Some entities siding with Russia are spreading rumors about Ukraine or denying there is a war going on. Some content on YouTube is like this. And the platform is removing them.
Why Did YouTube Delete Channels With Content About the Ukraine War?
- Removing misleading and false information about the Ukraine war from YouTube helps to prevent the spread of misinformation and propaganda.
- It ensures that YouTube users have access to accurate and reliable information about the conflict.
- It helps to promote a more balanced and fair understanding of the situation in Ukraine, rather than allowing one-sided narratives to dominate the platform.
- By taking down videos with misinformation about the war, YouTube can help to reduce tensions and prevent the conflict from escalating further.
- It can help to prevent individuals and groups from using the platform to promote hate speech and bigotry.
- Removing misinformation about the Ukraine war from YouTube can help to foster a more respectful and civil discourse about the conflict.
- It can help to protect the safety and security of individuals on both sides of the conflict, by preventing the spread of false information that could lead to violence or other harmful actions.
- By removing videos with misinformation about the Ukraine war, YouTube can help to promote the free flow of information and ideas, which is essential for a healthy democracy.
- It can help to prevent individuals and groups from using the platform to spread disinformation and manipulate public opinion.
- Removing videos with misinformation about the Ukraine war from YouTube can help to promote transparency and accountability, by ensuring that users have access to accurate and reliable information.
- It can help to prevent the exploitation of YouTube by individuals and groups seeking to spread propaganda and sow discord.
- Removing videos with misinformation about the Ukraine war from YouTube can help to improve the quality and integrity of the information available on the platform.
- It can help to protect the reputation and credibility of YouTube as a source of information.
- By taking down videos with misinformation about the war, YouTube can help to prevent the platform from being used to amplify divisive and polarizing narratives.
- It can help to create a more peaceful and constructive environment on the platform, where users can engage in respectful and informed discussions about the Ukraine war.
- Removing misinformation about the conflict from YouTube can help to prevent the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories.
- It can help to promote a more nuanced and complex understanding of the situation in Ukraine, rather than allowing oversimplified and misleading narratives to prevail.
- By taking down videos with misinformation, YouTube can help to prevent the platform from being used to spread fear and paranoia about the conflict.
- It can help to protect the rights and interests of all parties involved in the Ukraine war, by ensuring that users have access to accurate and fair information.
- Removing videos with misinformation about the Ukraine war from YouTube can help to promote a more open and inclusive dialogue about the conflict, and encourage greater understanding and empathy among all those affected by it.
YouTube Takes Down Channels And Content Regarding The Ukraine War
Like its social media peers, YouTube has been in controversies regarding misinformation. Legislators want to hold them accountable for the spread of falsehoods on their platforms. Thus, YouTube is improving its content regulation policies to avoid getting in trouble.
Since the war in Ukraine began last February, the platform has been busy removing channels that spread misinformation and disinformation about it. YouTube has taken down upwards of 9,000 channels and 70,000 videos for violating its guidelines.
Pro-Kremlin journalist Vladimir Solovyov’s channel is one of the channels YouTube has banned. Furthermore, YouTube has suspended channels associated with Russia’s Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs. These entities referred to the invasion as a “liberation mission.”
Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, spoke of the matter. He said their company has a “major event policy that applies to the denial of major violent events.” Content denying the Holocaust or the shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School are some examples of content to which this policy applies. The war in Ukraine also fits the criteria. Therefore, YouTube used that policy to take unprecedented action.
Mohan also spoke with The Guardian regarding the subject. He added that news content on the conflict found on YouTube received millions of views. In Ukraine alone, Mohan says those videos have racked up 40 million views.
Mohan says that it’s important that people who want more information about this conflict get connected with accurate, high-quality, credible information. And the consumption of authoritative channels on YouTube has increased. That’s not only in Ukraine but also in neighboring counties, Poland and Russia.
While the platform did not provide a list of the channels it has taken down, Mohan says most of them are narratives from the Russian government or actors on behalf of the Russian government.
Russia Against Western Social Media Giants
The Russian government had blocked Meta Platforms’ Facebook and Instagram under extremism law. Before that, they already restricted the social media platforms in the country. It was because Meta announced that it is relaxing its policies to allow threats to Vladimir Putin and Russian soldiers. The company later clarified that only people posting from Ukraine could post hate speech against the said people.
Russia’s FSB security service said Meta was creating an alternate reality where the company promotes hatred for Russians. Thus, the company is deserving of the ban.
Twitter also confirmed that Russia has also restricted access to its platform.
Russia Is Not Banning YouTube
Russian internet privacy advocate Alexander Isavnin says Facebook’s ban is the final warning to YouTube. YouTube is the last of the tech giants to remain in Russia. But if it continues to go against Russia, the government may hit it with the banhammer too.
However, Maksud Shadaev, the Russian minister for digital development, said they would not ban YouTube. He says it would affect the users if they block Russia’s most popular social media platform. And before they make decisions, they ensure their citizens will not suffer. Thus, YouTube remains accessible in the country despite disputes.
Mohan says that YouTube is the largest video-sharing site up and running in Russia. It has about 90 million users in the country. That said, YouTube is where Russian citizens can get uncensored information about the war. And so, the platform continues to be an important tool for Russian citizens as long as the conflict continues. Hence, it is essential for YouTube not to get banned in the country. It’s for the sake of truth.
While YouTube is not leaving Russia, it has disabled advertising on the platform in the said country. Russian regulators asked the platform to stop showing ads with “false political information” about Ukraine. In response, Google, YouTube’s parent company, decided to stop selling ads in Russia altogether. No ads will appear on Google Searches and YouTube if you access them in the country.
Alexei Navalny criticized that move. He explains how well-targeted ads can help counteract Kremlin propaganda. But YouTube’s got to do what it has to do to avoid getting banned in the country. So, it is the best course of action.