YouTube can’t seem to get out of its own way. The video platform has been mired in controversy ever since the Logan Paul backlash began earlier this year. But YouTube vowed to learn from the issue and move forward with a new resolve. That didn’t quite take, and in its latest round of mistakes, a conspiracy video managed to become the number one video on its trending page.
The video in question explored the conspiracy that a Parkland high school student is an actor. These types of videos have been fringe fodder for conspiracists, but this time, it made it to the top of the YouTube’s trending page, gaining more than 200,000 views before it was removed.
By then, the damage was done. YouTube unknowingly peddled a conspiracy video, which has been proven to be fake, on what is supposed to be a curated list of trending videos. Now, YouTube is again in crisis control as it appears to have little control over what type of content gets through its vetting process.
In response to the backlash, YouTube released a statement to BuzzFeed on the matter, detailing how the video made it to the trending page.
This video should never have appeared in Trending. Because the video contained footage from an authoritative source, our system misclassified it. As soon as we became aware of the video, we removed it from Trending and from YouTube for violating our policies. We are working to improve our systems.
YouTube has been content to let an algorithm lead most of the curation so far, but as the issue becomes more prevalent, calls for human curation will continue to grow. It won’t be able to human curate all the content that is uploaded to YouTube every day, but it should at the very least be on top of its trending page.
Now that the video has been removed, YouTube is already saying it is working hard on improving its system to ensure this doesn’t happen again. But after two Logan Paul controversies and and this latest debacle, it’s clear its system is not working properly.