My YouTube comments publishing dilemma-publish everything or censor?

I never expected my YouTube channel would give me a glimpse into a particular type of world: the world of conspiracies, misinformation, disinformation, far right activity, straightforward lies, delusion, and more.

But that is what has happened.

I see it in the comments section of certain videos which appear to attract commenters with a degree of organisation and speed that leads me to reasonably conclude that some of it is organised.

That’s fine, though-people are entitled to their opinions, no matter how far-fetched, outlandish, divorced from reality, data, science, or evidence or different from mine.

But where I have the problem is when persons put forward their own “facts”. That’s where I draw the line.

Wishing facts into existence

Making statements, assertions, claims, no matter how firmly and genuine the belief is does not create facts.

You cannot wish facts into existence. Repeatedly saying something over and over, no matter how often or in what forum and regardless of format, does not make something true or create a fact.

It is still just an assertion.

The comments dilemma

I am well aware of this when I face the dilemma of publishing comments underneath my YouTube videos. I can hold all comments for approval and when the topic is one which I know will generate interest and heated comments I choose to approve all comments.

But which ones do I approve? Which ones do I remove?

The dilemma I face is if I do not publish certain outlandish comments other persons who may be influenced one way or the other will not see how delusional and misinformed some of the claims are.

And if I do publish them I face the problem of knowing I am publishing misinformation (and sometimes lies) and I am in danger of becoming part of the problem, not the solution.

There is no easy answer.

I do believe there is merit in giving some of these conspiracy theorists an outlet such as the comments page on my YouTube platform. I also believe there is a danger in doing so and it is a bigger issue than I should have to deal with on my own.

Let’s face it: Facebook and other social media sites have faced well deserved criticism about their policies in accepting advertising from groups who have manipulated the fears of the platforms’ users during certain recent elections.

And Mark Zuckerberg, and others, argue how are they supposed to be the guardians of what should and should not be published; that it is a task for governments worldwide. Which is a fair argument although some of the criticism aimed at Facebook was well justified, especially in the light of the well-publicised advertising campaigns by Trump supporters and far right groups during the United States election which saw Trump entering the White House.

Meanwhile, I still face difficult questions on a daily basis as to what I should and should not allow to be published in the comments section of my YouTube channel.

4 Comments

  1. I feel that you should leave all comments up.
    No matter how unbelievable some of these comments might seem right now. If we have seen anything it is that even ‘trusted sources’ can’t be believed at the moment. Either they only give some of the facts or don’t even report on a story because it doesn’t support their narrative/agenda.
    As one senior CNN Technical Director said this week,
    ‘If you want real/trusted news these days, watch the guy making it in his basement.’
    Charlie Chester.

    Terry, in my eyes you are the guy in the basement. Keep up the work.

    1. Thanks for the comment.
      The problem with publishing everything, or allowing all comments to be published, is there would inevitably be comments which are manifestly untrue, comments that are encouraging of hate, misinformation, misogyny, racism, discrimination, and so on. I could not sit idly by and allows such comments to be published-for example, holocaust denial or defamatory comments.

      Society at large does not allow them, and I certainly won’t. And therein lies the dilemma: what is true, where do I draw the line?

      Thanks for comment, anyway.

      1. Thanks for your reply.
        I would mostly agree with you especially on the hate and racism comments. But in these uncertain days the ‘misinformation’ has often proved over time to be fact.
        I like to apply Occam’s Razor to anything I hear.

        James

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