YouTube is considered the main source of corona false information

A poll showed that most Corona hoaxes are consumed on YouTube. A hint button should now redirect to trusted sites. But the benefits are controversial.

People record most of the misinformation about the  corona virus through the YouTube video platform . The research network “Correctiv” found this out on the basis of 1,800 references to possible false information.

Almost 46 percent of the links were on YouTube. About a third of the users stated that they first saw the incorrect information on WhatsApp. According to “Correctiv” WhatsApp is the most widely used distribution channel for disinformation about the corona virus. “Correctiv” also emphasizes that the data are not representative.

YouTube responds to fake news 

Especially in the corona crisis , in addition to serious and scientifically proven information, there are also many rumors and false reports on the Internet. These spread quickly. Communication scientist Sabrina Heike Kessler explains the reason in an interview with “Correctiv”. For example, people on health issues are evolutionarily designed to rely on information from others. “If the information that you read about the corona virus is still plausible and fits into your own world view, it is stored directly mentally,” says Kessler.

YouTube has now reacted to the dissemination of incorrect information: For some time now, a blue box has been appearing under videos on the subject of coronavirus – be it from the newsreel, conspiracy theorists or researchers. Read in it: ” Covid-19 : Current, scientific information can be found at the Federal Center for Health Education.” Users can then put in a link to the information page for coronavirus  the  BZgA  go and look for reputable information contained therein.

Misunderstandings instead of educational work

At first glance, this notice is useful and informative. But if you take a closer look at this attempt to act against disinformation, it can also have the opposite effect: Bianca Hoffmann, employee at “Correctiv”, sees the link as a danger rather than a clarification. That’s what she says to the “mirror”. The link could make conspiracy videos legitimate in the eyes of some people. It is even possible that the recipients interpret the box under the videos as reinforcement of what has been said or even as a source.

Not a sufficient fact check program

“We are working flat out to protect our users from misinformation,” YouTube spokesman Georg Nolte said when asked by “Correctiv”. YouTube is already deleting videos that contain clear medical false reports. But communication scientist Kessler believes that the platform has to do even more.

Those responsible should invest in independent research and hire significantly more employees who track down false reports and banish them from the side. The blue box is an important step in the right direction, but unfortunately far from enough.