Researchers blame You-Tube 4 The rise at Flat EarThersEngadget #Save_SaveFebruary 18, 2019
Despite steps taken to counteract problematic material YouTube is still a hotbed of hoaxes and fake news — a problem that’s become so prevalent the site recently announced it is changing its AI in a bid to improve matters.
But now the scope of the problem has really come to light, as new research suggests that the increasing number of Flat Earthers can be attributed to conspiracy videos hosted on the site.
Ian Cuming via Getty Images
According to Asheley Landrum, assistant professor of science communication at Texas Tech University, all but one of 30 Flat Earthers interviewed said they hadn’t considered the Earth to be flat until watching videos promoting the theory on YouTube.
Landrum’s interest in the topic was first piqued after she attended the world’s largest gatherings of Flat Earthers at the movement’s annual conference in Rayleigh, North Carolina, in 2017.
She visited the conference again in 2018, when it took place in Denver, Colorado, to interview a number of the attendees.
As AI expert Guillaume Chaslot explained on Twitter earlier this month, conspiracy theory videos tend to be promoted by YouTube’s AI more than fact-based videos because platforms that use AI often become biased by small groups of very active users.
This explains why Microsoft’s AI chatbot Tay became a racist nightmare in less than 24 hours when it was left in the care of Twitter users.
“We don’t want YouTube to be full of videos saying here are all these reasons the Earth is flat .
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