YouTube may have misinformation blind spots, warn Researchers

News Network
November 6, 2022

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Ahead of the midterm elections, disinformation watchdogs say they are concerned that what has been described as an aggressive effort by YouTube to confront misinformation on the Google-owned platform has developed blind spots. In particular, they are worried about YouTube’s TikTok-like service that offers very short videos, and about the platform’s Spanish-language videos.

But the situation is difficult to understand clearly, more than a dozen researchers said in interviews with The New York Times, because they have limited access to data and because examining videos is time-intensive work.

While Facebook and Twitter are closely scrutinized for misinformation, YouTube has often flown under the radar, despite the broad influence of the video platform. It reaches more than 2 billion people and houses the web’s second-most popular search engine.

YouTube banned videos that claimed widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, but it has not established a comparable policy for the midterms, a move that prompted criticism from some watchdogs.

YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said the company disagreed with some of the criticism of its work fighting misinformation. “We’ve heavily invested in our policies and systems to make sure we’re successfully combating election-related misinformation with a multilayered approach,” Choi said in a statement.

YouTube said that it removed a number of videos that the Times flagged for violating its policies on spam and election integrity and that it determined that other content did not violate its policies. The company also said that from April to June it took down 122,000 videos that contained misinformation.

YouTube committed $15 million to hire more than 100 additional content moderators to help with the midterm elections and the presidential election in Brazil, and the company has more than 10,000 moderators stationed around the world, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss staffing decisions.

YouTube has also struggled to rein in Spanish-language misinformation, according to research and analysis from Media Matters and Equis, a nonprofit focused on the Latino community.

Almost half of Latinos have turned to YouTube weekly for news, more than they have any other social media platform, said Jacobo Licona, a researcher at Equis. Those viewers have access to a profusion of misinformation and one-sided political propaganda on the platform, he said, with Latin American influencers based in countries including Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela wading into US politics. 

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News Network
February 23,2024

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New Delhi: Google's AI tool Gemini's response to a question around Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in direct violation of IT rules as well as several provisions of the criminal code, minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Friday.

The minister took cognizance of the issue raised by verified account of a journalist alleging bias in Google Gemini in response to a question on Modi while it gave no clear answer when a similar question was tossed for Trump and Zelenskyy.

"These are direct violations of Rule 3(1)(b) of Intermediary Rules (IT rules) of the IT act and violations of several provisions of the Criminal code," Chandrasekhar said on social media platform X.

The minister marked the post to Google and the Ministry of Electronics and IT indicating further action in the matter.

According to a screenshot shared by a user on social media platform X, Gemini was asked whether PM Modi is a ‘fascist’, to which the platform responded that he has been “accused of implementing policies some experts have characterised as fascist,” which based on factors like the “BJP’s Hindu nationalist ideology, its crackdown on dissent, and its use of violence against religious minorities”.

However, as per the screenshot, when it was asked a similar question about former US President Donal Trump, Gemini responded with: “Elections are a complex topic with fast-changing information. To make sure you have the most accurate information, try Google Search.”

 Responding to the post, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “These are direct violations of Rule 3(1)(b) of Intermediary Rules (IT rules) of the IT Act and violations of several provisions of the Criminal code”. These rules pertain to basic due diligence that is required of intermediaries like Google to enjoy immunity from third-party content.

A senior IT Ministry official said that this was the second time that Google’s AI system presented “answers replete with biases”. “We are issuing a show cause notice to them, seeking information on why Gemini is generating such problematic views on certain individuals. If we do not find their answers satisfactory, they will stand to be prosecuted,” the official added, requesting anonymity.

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News Network
February 15,2024

Bengaluru, Feb 15: Days after a group of farmers from Karnataka travelling to Delhi for the ‘Dilli Chalo’ farmers’ protest were detained by the Madhya Pradesh Police, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday sought the intervention of his MP counterpart Mohan Yadav.

According to the farmers, they were detained by the police in the early hours of Monday as the train they were travelling in to reach Delhi approached the Bhopal railway station. Prominent farmer leaders such as Badagalapura Nagendra and Kuruburu Shanthakumar were among those from different parts of Karnataka who were stopped by the Bhopal police.

In his letter to the Madhya Pradesh CM, Siddaramaiah said the detention of the farmers was a violation of their constitutional rights. “It has been four days since the farmers were detained and yet they have not been released. It is now learnt your police authorities are shifting them to Varanasi. Travelling to Delhi to participate in a peaceful protest is the constitutional right of the people,” the Karnataka CM said in his letter.

“It is highly unfortunate that farmers who are seeking better policies are being arrested and ill-treated by police authorities in Madhya Pradesh. I request you to personally look into this and get the farmers released without shifting them from place to place,” he said.

Soon after the farmers were detained in Bhopal, Siddaramaiah lashed out at the Madhya Pradesh government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for trying to suppress the farmers’ struggle.

Siddaramaiah said on social media platform X that the Narendra Modi government’s action against farmer protests might only lead to more farmers taking to the streets. “Looking at the current actions of Narendra Modi’s government, it seems their main aim is to intimidate the farmers into submission,” Siddaramaiah had said.

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News Network
February 17,2024

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Kasaragod: In a suspected case of murder-suicide, three persons of a family were found dead in their rented house behind Kanhangad Railway Station on Saturday, February 17.

Hosdurg police identified the deceased as Suryaprakash (55), his wife Geetha (48), and his mother Leela (90).The women were found dead in the bedroom and Suryaprakash in the kitchen. 

Police found in the house a suicide note, purportedly written by Suryaprakash, a watchmaker who was running 'Scientific Watch Works' at the old bus stand in Kanhangad town. The suicide note mentions financial liabilities on the family.

The details have to be investigated, said an officer at Hosdurg Station. Suryaprakash allegedly gave poison to his mother and wife before he hanged himself.

Suryaprakash and Geetha are survived by three children, Aishwarya, Arya, and Ajay. "The daughters are married and Ajay is working in a private company in Ernakulam," said Kanhangad councillor from Avikkara A V Lakshmi, who had known the family for decades. 

The wife's house is in Avikkara and Suryaprakash was from the South, she said. "They have been living in Avikkara for at least 30 years," said Lakshmi.

According to police, Suryaprakash phoned his son Ajay Saturday morning and reportedly told him "Mother and grandmother have gone. I am also going".

Ajay immediately called a friend and asked him to rush to his house. By the time he reached the house, all three were gone. 

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