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News18 » Tech
1-min read

Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral Fire: YouTube's Algorithms Struggled to Distinguish This From 9/11 Attacks

YouTube’s automated intelligence may have mistaken the live visuals of the burning cathedral as similar to the footage from the 9/11 terror attacks.

News18.com

Updated:April 16, 2019, 10:23 AM IST
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Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral Fire: YouTube's Algorithms Struggled to Distinguish This From 9/11 Attacks
YouTube’s automated intelligence may have mistaken the live visuals of the burning cathedral as similar to the footage from the 9/11 terror attacks.

The Google owned YouTube is in hot water again. The artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms designed to counter fake news have gone wrong. As the world looked on in horror at the fire tearing apart the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, YouTube's automated fact check panel that accompanied the videos of the Cathedral fire began informing viewers about the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York. YouTube’s artificially intelligent algorithms showed a description of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks directly under a live stream videos of the Notre Dame Cathedral fire. The issue was noticed on the live streams on the YouTube pages of France 24, CBS and NBC News.

Clearly, YouTube’s automated intelligence may have mistaken the live visuals of the burning cathedral as similar to the footage from the 9/11 terror attacks.

The completely wrong descriptions being shown with the live stream of the Notre Dame Cathedral fire were a part of the Fact Check Panels, which were designed to verify information and offer additional info on an unfolding situation by souring fact checks from verified partners in an attempt to combat fake news and misinformation. YouTube had rolled out this feature in a few countries including India.

Incidentally, the information panel which was shown with the Notre Dame Cathedral fire livestream was sourced from Encyclopedia Britannica, one of the partners for YouTube to source information from.

“We are deeply saddened by the ongoing fire at the Notre Dame cathedral. Last year, we launched information panels with links to third-party sources like Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia for subjects subject to misinformation. These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call,” said YouTube in an official statement later. The company also disabled these live panels for the coverage of the fire in Paris.

It is being reported that the coverage of the Notre Dame Cathedral fire on the YouTube pages of ABC News and Fox News did not show the 9/11 terrorist attack information in the Fact Check panels. These panels trigger automatically after YouTube’s algorithms identify a breaking news event.

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