By Hannah Torregoza
Detained Senator Leila de Lima has asked Google Philippines to take down the fake videos populating YouTube.
De Lima lamented that the video-sharing website has becomes the go-to platform for sinister groups to spread lies and misleading content.
The former justice secretary said Google Philippines should take concrete and decisive actions to ensure the veracity of the videos, and audio clips it allows to be disseminated and shared on its service by cleaning up YouTube of fake clips.
“The continued proliferation of fake videos on YouTube is highly alarming. These fake videos have been widely shared across social media platforms by well-orchestrated network of pages that aim to manipulate reality to advance their political agendas,” de Lima said.
“Google Philippines should take this concern seriously and start the crackdown on fake videos, including deep fake videos, on YouTube to free the public from any confusion about what’s real and what’s fake. This is long overdue,” she added.
Citing the findings of recent research titled “Tracking Digital Disinformation in the 2019 Philippine Midterm Election” published by New Mandala, an academic blog on Southeast Asian affairs that is hosted by Australian National University, de Lima said YouTube actually played a significant role in the disinformation landscape in the Philippines.
This was especially evident in the recent May 2019 midterm elections, as YouTube provided space for “alternative news” channels to proliferate.
The research also noted several pro-administration YouTube channels, including TOKHANG TV and Duterte NEWS PORTAL, which produced clickbait headlines and “hyper-partisan” contents promoting a political agenda and attacking opposition leaders.
De Lim said that aside from reeking of “misleading and emotionally arousing” headlines, the research also found that some 20 pro-administration channels—mostly created in 2016—were found to be a cesspool of administration propaganda, historical revisionism, and disinformation.
“I should know. Evil men and women who are behind the fake news stories and videos against me have long been resorting to YouTube, among other social media platforms, to discredit me and make me appear bad in the public’s eyes,” said de Lima, who is currently fighting the drug charges filed against her by the administration.
“Even though my Senate staff report these online fake news pages and websites regularly, their efforts are not enough to control the proliferation of these fake news videos, especially among overseas Filipino workers,” she lamented.
De Lima said she believes that Google Philippines and its mother unit would be more responsible in finding innovative ways that could control, if not at all stop, the continued circulation and distribution of fake videos on YouTube.
“The people behind these dubious accounts and channels should also be held accountable for their actions,” she said.
“Media literacy and fact-checking platforms would not suffice unless technology giants like Google contribute in fighting disinformation,” she stressed.