YouTube videos target kids with AI fake 'scientific' education content

Occurred: September 2023

YouTube was found to be recommending deliberately misleading and false 'bad science' videos to children alongside legitimate educational content. 

According to the BBC, over 50 channels in more than 20 languages were spreading disinformation about the existence of electricity-producing pyramids and aliens, and the denial of human-caused climate change, disguised as STEM [Science Technology Engineering Maths] content Examples of conspiracy theories are. 

The creators of the videos appeared to have stolen and manipulated accurate content using AI, and republished them. The videos were tagged 'educational content', meaning they were more likely to be recommended to children.

The finding raised questions about the integrity of YouTube's content moderation efforts. YouTube benefits from high performing content by taking about 40% of the money made from advertising on someone's channel. 

Operator: BBC
Developer: Alphabet/Google/YouTube

Country: UK; Thailand

Sector: Education

Purpose: Manage content

Technology: Content management system
Issue: Mis/disinformation

Transparency: Governance; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: October 2023