YouTube made 'wrong call' by linking Notre Dame fire videos to 9/11

Links appeared as part of Google's effort to provide fact checks and fight misinformation.

Notre Dame: live streams of the fire were available on YouTube
Notre Dame: live streams of the fire were available on YouTube

YouTube appeared to have confused the fire at Notre Dame cathedral yesterday with a terrorist attack after linking live streams of news coverage to articles about 9/11.

Underneath streams of the fire in Paris, viewers in the US and South Korea reported being served links to an Encyclopaedia Britannica entry about the "September 11 attacks".

The links appeared as part of Google’s effort to provide fact checks and fight misinformation on YouTube, which has attracted controversy for being a source of conspiracy videos and fake news. 

The algorithms used to generate the links identified news coverage of the fire as a breaking news event, but apparently mistook it for a terrorist attack.

A YouTube spokesman said it launched information panels with links to Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia last year. "These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call," the spokesman added.

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