October 25, 2020

YouTube censors a parodic video of Pantomime Full on coronavirus deniers



YouTube censored a video this Friday in which the comic duo Pantomima Full, specialized in producing parodic content, caricatured the coronavirus denialist movement. According to the explanation offered by the duo, the video platform has blocked the content because its algorithms have detected “that it explicitly questions the effectiveness of the guidelines recommended by the WHO or the health or local authorities”, prohibited in its terms of use.

“I am not going to wear a mask for a virus that does not exist because it is a fucking muzzle that and I am not a dog, I am a free person”, says ironically in the video Alberto Casado, who integrates Pantomima Full with Rober Bodegas. The content is available on Twitter, a platform that has not prevented the content from being uploaded.

“I can pass you several videos and articles that explain why this virus does not exist as such”; “Of course I was at the demonstration because it’s fine now, life yes, 5G no!”; “If you question the official version, they call you a denier. I am not a denier, I am looking for the truth,” says Casado throughout the recording, parodying the topics usually associated with people who question the existence of the virus and the measures adopted by health authorities.

YouTube is analyzing the case, a spokeswoman has confirmed to elDiario.es. The veto of the parodic video of Pantomime Full comes days after the company announced that it is bringing back the human content moderators who left their offices after the arrival of the pandemic. Since then the greatest weight of moderation has been delegated to algorithms, which had previously been criticized for being unable to discern a parodic content from one that is not.

However, problems with YouTube’s moderation algorithms have not been detected only in parodic content. Different scientific popularizers have denounced that the videos where they discredit the different conspiracy theories about the coronavirus are also penalized in visibility and recommendations by the platform, unable to discern that they are denying these false assertions about the disease and not reproducing them.

YouTube’s algorithmic crusade against coronavirus misinformation

After the beginning of the pandemic and to prevent the viralization of the denial of the coronavirus, the conspiracy theories, the videos about false cures or against vaccines, YouTube made the decision to increase the visibility of the contents on the subject produced by “sources reliable “(basically health institutions and the media). As in the case that occurred this Friday with Pantomima Full or with scientific disseminators, this policy caused collateral damage to content creators who distribute disinformation about the virus.

However, many disinformative videos made it through the company’s first filter. As elDiario.es showed, in the first months of the pandemic, content could be found that denounced that the virus was an illuminati maneuver, a strategy to shape a new World Order or analysis by ufologists speculating about its origin. It is not difficult to find fake videos that They blame everything on Bill Gates.

This type of content had its internal visibility reduced, but it was not censored and is accessible through the search engine. In the long run, this caused the denialist community to use other social networks aside from YouTube to viralize them, a role in which Facebook was especially prominent. As recently shown by an Oxford University study. The content with disinformation of the coronavirus produced on YouTube and shared on Facebook accumulated millions of visits.

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