On April 15, Monday, the whole world was shocked by the news that one of the oldest European cathedrals, an 856-year-old Notre-Dame de Paris, is on fire. Several news outlets immediately started live streaming the fire on YouTube, however, the platform flagged the video incorrectly and attached the information about the September 11 attacks.
The info below the stream directed to an Encyclopedia Britannica, article on the 9/11 attacks. Later, BuzzFeed reported that the disclaimer was removed. Yet, some of the Twitter users managed to have taken notice of it.
I'm so glad we let tech platforms eat the journalism industry.
Now, I can sit and watch a live stream of Notre Dame burning while YouTube's fake news widget tells me about 9/11 for some reason. pic.twitter.com/FhAtE4DqtB
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) April 15, 2019
— Joshua Benton (@jbenton) April 15, 2019
YouTube started to use “information panels” last year, now the feature is available only in the US and South Korea. The main idea was to provide users with information regarding the video content and curb fake news from spreading on the platform. YouTube automatically placed links to Wikipedia and encyclopedia. This time the platform’s algorithm made a mistake and interpreted the fire as footage of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The spokesman of YouTube commented on the situation to the CNBC:
“These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call,” the spokesperson said. “We are disabling these panels for livestreams related to the fire.”
The cathedral’s spire and roof have collapsed, yet the main structure has been saved. Officials say that the fire may have been connected to the renovation work, now the police are checking all the possible variants. No people died, only one fireman was severely hurt during the fire. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, called it a “terrible tragedy” and vowed to establish a fundraising scheme to reconstruct the main French’s landmark.
The leaders of different countries expressed their sympathy to the people of France. Our editorial staff endorses the same words.
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