YouTube ‘accidentally’ links Notre Dame fires to 9/11 attack, blames ‘algorithm designed to stop spread of misinformation’

Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF


YouTube accidentally linked the fire at Notre Dame cathedral on Monday to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a feature designed to stop the spread of misinformation.

When viewers clicked on the YouTube livestream of the fire at Notre Dame, a link popped up offering information from Encyclopedia Britannica on the 2001 terrorist attacksaccording to CNN Business.

YouTube’s error comes as commentators shy away from connecting the Notre Dame cathedral burning to any kind of terrorist activity as no such links have been confirmed as of Monday afternoon. The cause of the fires is still being investigated.

YouTube said this was an accident caused by an algorithm designed to stop the spread of misinformation by providing relevant context. The feature was designed in 2018 as a fact-checking mechanism, according to CNN.

“We are deeply saddened by the ongoing fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Last year, we launched information panels with links to third party sources like Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia for subjects subject to misinformation. These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call. We are disabling these panels for live streams related to the fire,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.

The Notre Dame Cathedral fires started Monday evening local time.

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