YouTube was slammed Monday after live footage of the devastating Notre Dame blaze appeared above a link to information on the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The footage appeared with a link to an Encyclopedia Britannica explainer on 9/11, according to Gizmodo. The Verge reports that the erroneous link appeared briefly beneath live streams used by CBS News, NBC News and France 24 before the glitch was fixed.
“Why in the world is @YouTube putting information about 9/11 underneath the Notre Dame livestream from @FRANCE24?” tweeted Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard.
YouTube said that an algorithmic fail caused the wrong information panel to appear with the live footage.
“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 Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia for subjects subject to misinformation,” it explained, in a statement emailed to Fox News. “These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call. We are disabling these panels for live streams related to the fire.”
A number of Twitter users hammered YouTube for its algorithmic snafu.
“So if you watch a live stream of Notre Dame burning on YouTube, a pop up tells you about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We are creating an Internet of algorithmic dog whistles,” tweeted Christopher Wylie, research director at H&M.
YouTube joined forces with Encyclopedia Britannica last year in an attempt to battle fake news and conspiracy theories. “Encyclopaedia Britannica will provide custom, fact-checked information on certain historical and scientific topics that have been subject to misinformation, and YouTube will link to this information from Britannica in searches and below videos about these topics,” explained the famous Encyclopedia, in a press release last summer.
Earlier this year YouTube, which is owned by Google, also announced that it is reworking its algorithm to cut down on conspiracy video recommendations.
Fox News’ Christopher Carbone contributed to this article.
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