Youtube-Manager Mohan : „We have to fight misinformation because people's lives are at stake“

Youtube-Manager Neal Mohan Bild: Getty

Is Youtube a gateway drug for conspiracy theories? Youtube-Manager Neal Mohan talks about Trumps dangerous Covid-19-tips, the fight against fakenews and Youtube’s new factchecking-tool.

          4 Min.

          Mr. Mohan, is YouTube a gateway drug for conspiracy theories?

          Corinna Budras
          Wirtschaftskorrespondentin in Berlin.

          YouTube was created 15 years ago as an open platform that gives everyone in the world the opportunity to share their ideas. Of course, this might also include content that, in our opinion, is not suitable. However, that's simply the consequences of an open, diversified platform. We are very proud of this. We always had guidelines in which we made it clear what content could stay on the site and what we had to take down to protect our partners and our creatives. We have changed those guidelines a number of times in the past few years.

          What are the biggest lies on Youtube?

          Some of course concern the Covid-19 pandemic, as it is our greatest humanitarian crisis, so far. In every crisis there are people who tell lies, either for ideological or commercial reasons. In this regard, Covid-19 is not different from other events. But it is special, of course, because of the dramatic effects: We have to fight misinformation because people's lives are at stake. It is particularly important to get the right information. Even before the pandemic, we took measures to prevent medical falsehoods from spreading, for example medicines or treatments that are either ineffective or even harmful.

          Do you have a specific example?

          A few months ago we would not have dreamed that 5G technology could be associated with Covid-19. But it happened. That's why we had to ensure that this content was removed from our platform as quickly as possible within hours. The reason for this is very simple: if you actually believe that Corona is caused by 5G, then conversely you don't believe that the disease is caused by a virus. If you don't, you won’t wear a mask or keep your distance. Therefore, these conspiracy theories must be filtered. This will continue in the next few months. If there is a vaccine, we want to give users the latest information as soon as possible. We work with 85 medical institutions around the world, including the authorities in Germany. You may already have noticed that there are info boxes on the page that point users to the relevant information. The same is true if you are watching or looking for films about Covid-19. These info-boxes have now been clicked over 400 billion times around the world.

          Now of all people, the American president Donald Trump is also the source of Incorrect information. But you have not stopped him yet.

          We make decisions based on content - regardless of who is distributing it. So our policies affect everyone, whether it's a head of state or an ordinary citizen. In any case, you didn't delete the video of his press conference, in which he propagated harmful methods against Covid-19.
          In this case, that was because he has not yet violated the guidelines. As he put it, it was very speculative and not a direct request to inject a certain drug. But we have already banned statements by Brazilian President Bolsonaro from our platform because they were false.

          What are you doing specifically against hate and false information?

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