Thursday, October 28, 2021

Sky News boss slams YouTube’s suspension of “opaque” guidelines

Chief Executive Paul Whittaker issued a sharp criticism of the video sharing giant YouTube in Monday’s parliamentary investigation. He said that the claim that Sky News Australia spread COVID-19 misinformation was “frankly absurd. of”.

Before the Standing Committee on Environment and Communications, Whitaker questioned why the tech giants owned by Google could be the arbiter of content.

He said: “Our audience will not agree with every opinion expressed by every host, guest or panel member.” “But now, it seems commonplace to smear any debate on controversial issues as’misinformation’.”

“YouTube’s actions show that it is not a neutral platform, but a publisher that selectively broadcasts content and censors certain views, while allowing the mass distribution of apparently false, misogynistic and racist videos,” Whitaker said .

“Why do tech giants, YouTube, and algorithm-backed anonymous individuals in California decide to hold the government and policymakers accountable is’misinformation’? Why do they decide what is news and what is not allowed?” he said.

Epoch Times Photos
Paul Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Sky News Australia, attends the Parliamentary Investigation of Media Diversity via a video link on September 6, 2021 (screenshot)

The committee is investigating the diversity and concentration of the Australian media.

The investigation was launched after former Prime Minister Rudd took the lead in a petition to investigate the influence of Rupert Murdoch News Corporation.

At the same time, in early August, YouTube suspended Sky News for a week for allegedly publishing “COVID-19 misinformation” and issued a “first strike” to the 24-hour news channel—similar to the warning under its three strike policy.

Google’s Australian Government Affairs and Public Policy Director Lucinda Longcroft told the investigation earlier that the technology giant had executed its own code on COVID-19-related content, claiming to cooperate with health and media authorities to combat false and harmful content.

“If there is a video asserting these drugs without further context [ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine] Is effective, because it may cause danger and medical harm to users, we delete it,” Longcroft said.

Between February 2020 and March 2021, more than 5,000 “dangerous and misleading” videos were tracked to Australian IP addresses and deleted by YouTube, including 23 videos published by Sky News.

Longcroft stated that the contents of Sky News were deleted due to violations of the Code and two violations of the Code of Political Integrity.

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However, Whitaker countered that it is in the public interest to discuss alternative medicines, especially since no vaccine was available last year.

On September 27, 2019, a woman holding a smartphone walked past a YouTube billboard in Berlin. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

“Sky News Australia strongly supports vaccination. Any statement to the contrary is false and an attempt to blatantly discredit and harm our news service,” he said. “This is a scientific debate that continues to this day.”

The CEO also stated that YouTube’s review process lacks transparency and is “uncompliant”.

“Unlike other publishers’ policies, YouTube’s process for reviewing and removing content lacks transparency and clear processes, which gives channel operators the opportunity to resolve issues or question assessments before the suspension occurs,” he said.

He claimed that Sky News had tried to seek confirmation from YouTube on whether the historical content would trigger any further action, but said he did not give any response.

Whittaker said: “Because of the lack of transparency, Sky News has taken a proactive approach and deleted all the videos released in 2020 from the online platform to ensure continued compliance with YouTube’s arbitrary editorial guidelines.”

“Sky News’s removal of content is not an admission of non-compliance with YouTube’s policies, but an attempt to navigate its opaque policy.”

In this picture illustration taken on March 28, 2018, the silhouette of the mobile device user can be seen next to the screen projection of the YouTube logo. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)

He said that YouTube should be regarded as a publisher that selectively edits content for political and commercial reasons, which is “undisputed.”

“But unlike traditional media, it does not accept any regulatory or legal burdens that are posed as a’publisher’,” he said, calling for a “vigorous debate” on YouTube as a publisher.

Sky News uploaded more than 50,000 hours of content on YouTube and gained more than 1.98 million followers.

The channel has been reporting the latest developments in tracking the origin of COVID-19 around the world, some of which were initially considered “conspiracy theories,” but other news media have since realized the feasibility of these explanations.

Daniel Y. Teng


This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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