Broadcasts of the Notre-Dame fire triggered a YouTube factcheck feature which accidentally tagged it as footage of the 9/11 terror attacks Photo: AFP
tech

YouTube accidentally links Notre-Dame fire to 9/11 attacks

6 Comments
By Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT

A YouTube fact-check feature which is meant to tackle misinformation accidentally tagged live broadcasts of a fire engulfing Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris with details about the 9/11 terror attacks.

The blaze erupted in the UNESCO world heritage landmark in the French capital Monday, sending its spire and roof crashing to the ground as flames and clouds of smoke billowed into the sky.

The fire, which at one point threatened the entire edifice, was brought under control early Tuesday about nine hours after it broke out.

News outlets began live-streaming broadcasts of the fire on YouTube, but below some of the clips an unusual text box popped up -- an entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica about the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

In those attacks, al-Qaida militants hijacked two passenger planes and flew them into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York, causing them to collapse, while a third hijacked jet smashed into the Pentagon. Some 3,000 people were killed.

A spokesman for YouTube, which is owned by Google, said the text box feature had been disabled for live streams related to the fire.

"These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call," the spokesman told AFP. "We are deeply saddened by the ongoing fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral."

The feature, which also links to other outside sources such as Wikipedia, was introduced last year after YouTube faced intense criticism over videos containing misleading and extreme content.

The panels are supposed to combat misleading videos about well-known events -- such as the first successful manned landing on the moon -- by presenting the true facts, in a bid to stop the spread of conspiracy theories.

YouTube, Facebook and Twitter came under fire last month after a horrific video of a gunman's deadly rampage at two New Zealand mosques was circulated on the sites.

The Christchurch massacre, in which 50 people were killed, was live-streamed on Facebook, which moved to block the footage. But it was then shared repeatedly on the other two sites.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

6 Comments
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stop the spread of conspiracy theories.

So the public are not free to express their minds about conspiracy? Why they are much scared?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It was a computer error but of course some people are going to be up in arms over it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

We need to get the facts straight and stop the speculation for all these conspiracy loonies. And it's time to stop feeding the Islamophobic engines.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The panels are supposed to combat misleading videos about well-known events -- such as the first successful manned landing on the moon -- by presenting the true facts, in a bid to stop the spread of conspiracy theories.

Yeah, they want to only present the "truth" that the powers that be want the people see. The real truth does not need this kind of protection.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

in a bid to stop the spread of conspiracy theories

The best way to stop conspiracy theories is to tell the truth. When the government continuously lies to people, and the journalists who are supposed to call out those lies instead cooperate with them, people are going to assume the worst and come up with their own narratives.

If a woman's husband has been caught several times having affairs when he said he was just working late, he can't complain when he actually is working late and his wife doesn't believe it. And western governments have lied more than any spouse I know of.

Tell the truth, and people won't have to come up with their own theories about what actually is happening.I don't think any reasonable person would trust the Macron government to tell the truth about what day it is, much less how this fire started.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tell the truth, and people won't have to come up with their own theories about what actually is happening.I don't think any reasonable person would trust the Macron government to tell the truth about what day it is, much less how this fire started.

There is a suspicious person in a photo being investigated. Otherwise, if you don't know anything else, don't release any info that isn't solid. But don't yin-yang the public around.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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