ronn torossian youtube

YouTube has been taking heat for “not doing enough” to stop or limit so-called conspiracy videos on its social media platform. While the Google-owned company says it’s trying to make some strides in this area, critics argue it isn’t enough.

Some of the most common targets for criticism are the sort of conspiracy theory videos that promote junk science “theories” about a flat earth or “false flag” school shootings or “government chemtrails” poisoning people. These kinds of videos, even though they are routinely denounced by everyone who knows anything about the topics covered have a very dedicated following, especially online.

Purveyors of these kinds of conspiracies have become quite adept at using social media like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to spread their messages to willing listeners.

So, how can these media companies combat the conspiracies without turning their platforms into draconian places where every video is scrutinized before being uploaded? That’s a question YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is trying to answer. At a recent conference, Wojcicki said one idea was to include Wikipedia links that attempt to point people to accurate information related to the conspiracies.

Critics quickly pointed out the flaw in that argument. Wikipedia has a credibility loophole all its own. Just about anyone can edit a Wiki page to say whatever they please. Moderators cannot possibly keep up. Wikipedia is trying to address this, mainly by restricting editorial access to pages about certain topics… but, of course, that strategy is far from foolproof.

So, YouTube had to go back to the drawing board. The company said it would soon be offering other links from verified sources in addition to Wikipedia. When critics and the media asked “which sources,” YouTube spokespeople were mum on the subject.

At this point, there really isn’t a concrete, workable, fully-effective strategy for cutting down on nonsense online. The fact of the matter is, if you open it up to everyone to post what they want, you will get the full spectrum of the human experience, with all the good, bad, ugly and unbelievable.

That means, essentially, it’s a game of digital whack-a-mole. When one out-of-bounds video gets popular, moderators can pull it, flag it or shut down the account. However, that’s still just trying to use an eyedropper to drain Lake Superior. There are just far too many videos for moderators to keep up with, and, when one is taken down, creators can just open a new account and put another video up.

In the end, while having less misinformation online might be a good thing for all users, especially young, impressionable kids who don’t have fully-developed filters in place, the reality is, it’s just not a workable scenario yet. Until that exists, YouTube will just have to manage the complaints and the malcontents the best it can.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.