On Monday I was enlightened by Siouxie, ‘cos Siouxie does facts, and this week she informed us that “Videos like these are endangering lives”.
What videos, you may ask?
Videos recommending the use of power saws for haircuts, perhaps?
Videos with instructions for making gunpowder in your bedroom?
Siouxie is all a-flutter over “misleading” COVID videos on YouTube, citing a report on research from BMJ Global Health which report’s findings Siouxie uses to mislead us.
The researchers sorted 150-odd YouTube videos from a mid-March search and, for various reasons, whittled the number down to 69 for analysis as ‘factual’ or ‘non-factual’ about the virus. The criterion was reasonably harsh, the entire video deemed non-factual if “they contained one or more non-factual statement”, crikey.
Given that criteria, just under a quarter of the vids were categorized non-factual, but that those particular clips were, on average, older than their factual cousins (+20%). Perhaps it was just out-of-date information regarding a fast-moving pandemic they relayed, but who knows?
What we do know is any video was dismissed as non-factual if the term “Chinese virus” was used. Hmm.
Anyways: Siouxie announces that “the videos made by government sources were the most informative” [wink, wink] but sadly “they were less likely to be watched, with just 2% of views“. Oh, dear. I can imagine the phone ringing in the PM’s office this morning: “Hi Jaz, it’s Siouxie, have I got a great idea for you…”
Thing is, no surprises here, it ain’t true. Naughty Siouxie. Far from being under-watched “Government/professional” videos made up (very close to) 10% of the studied films, and garnered, surprise, surprise (very close to) 10% of total views: (% in brackets)
Simple facts don’t deter Siouxie from her hyperbolic claim that some of these videos “endanger lives”, nor stop her finishing with “It’s time media giants like YouTube stopped being complicit in this”. Yes, really.
Here’s the deal Siouxie: YouTube will probably stop platforming videos with “one or more non-factual statements” about the same time you stop making hyperbolic assertions containing “one or more non-factual statements”, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for either.
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