YouTube fumbles again. This time, as television news networks were live streaming video of the massive blaze that threatened to destroy the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, YouTube’s algorithms were making a connection to the 9/11 attacks.
With the fire lighting up the night sky, people around the world watched the devastation live streaming on YouTube. The footage was being used by CBS News, NBC News, France 24 and others.
In a prominent area underneath the streaming video — and clearly visible to viewers — was a large rectangular box that contained a full description of the 9/11 attacks in New York City 17 years ago. YouTube apologized for the incident, claiming its algorithms failed and that sometimes the company just made the wrong call.
But once again, YouTube did nothing to immediately halt actions that fan the flames of conspiracy theorists and spread dangerous disinformation. As it turned out, the fire was not an act of terrorism.
Fire officials in Paris said the blaze was due to the renovation being done at the cathedral. While Notre Dame was seriously damaged, it was not destroyed. At the site of the fire, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that the cathedral would be rebuilt.