Qatari media under fire over ‘fake’ photo of Morocco king

The fabricated photo of the Moroccan king.
Updated 17 November 2017

Qatari media under fire over ‘fake’ photo of Morocco king

DUBAI: A “fake” picture of the Moroccan king holding a pro-Doha slogan has been broadcast by Qatari media and went viral on social sites.
A doctored picture showing King Mohammed VI holding a sash with slogan with the Arabic slogan “you have the world, we have Tamim,” went viral on social media, drawing the ire of Moroccan authorities.
Media reports from Qatar attempted to suggest that King Mohammed’s visit to Qatar was an expression of his backing of Doha’s stance.
It is unclear where this photo first appeared, but one Qatari journalist apologized to the king for tweeting the fake photo. The Qatar-owned Al Jazeera news channel ran the doctored picture in a news bulletin, but later said it was fabricated.
The slogan “you have the world, we have Tamim” was widely chanted by Qataris as a demonstration of their support to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
But the picture with King Mohammed, on a visit to Qatar, apparently holding a sash with the same slogan was fake, Moroccan officials said.
Moroccan media quoted Yassir Zenagui, an adviser to King Mohammad, as saying: “This is a blatant fake; we were surprised by this picture. I was alongside His Majesty the King throughout this visit, and he never held that scarf and nobody has taken a picture of him holding any scarf.”
Morocco is close to the Gulf states but has remained neutral in the row between Qatar and some of its Arab neighbors over Doha’s alleged funding of extremist groups and ties to Iran. Morocco has also offered to host talks between Qatar and the GCC member states.
Qatar issued an official statement saying that the picture was fake. Government spokesman Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al-Thani decried the fabricated picture and said that the matter would be probed and the culprits brought to justice.


YouTube steers viewers to climate denial videos: nonprofit

Updated 16 January 2020

YouTube steers viewers to climate denial videos: nonprofit

  • Avaaz said it scrutinized results of YouTube searches using the terms “global warming,” “climate change,” and “climate manipulation” to see what was offered by an “up next” feature
  • 16 percent of the top 100 videos served up in relation to the term “global warming” contained misinformation, it said

SAN FRANCISCO: YouTube has driven millions of viewers to climate denial videos, a US activist group said Thursday as it called for stopping “free promotion of misinformation” at the platform.
New York-based Avaaz said it scrutinized results of Google-owned YouTube searches using the terms “global warming,” “climate change,” and “climate manipulation” to see what was offered by an “up next” feature and as suggestions.
In response to the report, YouTube said it downplays “borderline” video content while spotlighting authoritative sources and displaying information boxes on searches related to climate change and other topics.
The video sharing platform has remained firm that while it removes content violating its policies against hate, violence and scams, it does not censor ideas expressed in accordance with its rules.
“Our recommendations systems are not designed to filter or demote videos or channels based on specific perspectives,” YouTube said in response to an AFP inquiry.
The company added that it has “significantly invested in reducing recommendations of borderline content and harmful misinformation, and raising up authoritative voices.”
According to Avaaz, 16 percent of the top 100 videos served up in relation to the term “global warming” contained misinformation, with the top 10 of those averaging more than a million views each.
The portion of potentially misleading videos climbed to 21 percent for YouTube searches on the term “climate manipulation” but fell to eight percent for searches using the term “climate change,” according to Avaaz.
“This is not about free speech, this is about the free advertising,” Avaaz senior campaigner Julie Deruy said in a release.
“YouTube is giving factually inaccurate videos that risk confusing people about one of the biggest crises of our time.”
An AFP search at YouTube using the term “global warming” yielded a results page topped by a box containing a Wikipedia summary of the subject and a link to the page at the online encyclopedia.
A list of suggested videos on the topic was dominated by sources such as National Geographic, NASA, TED and major news organizations including CBS, PBS, Sky News, and AFP.
Last year, consumption on “channels” of authoritative news publishers at the platform grew by 60 percent, according to YouTube.
“We prioritize authoritative voices for millions of news and information queries, and surface information panels on topics prone to misinformation — including climate change — to provide users with context alongside their content,” YouTube said.
Avaaz called on YouTube to yank climate change misinformation videos from its recommendation formula completely, and make certain such content doesn’t make money from ads at the platform.
The nonprofit also wants YouTube to collaborate with fact-checkers and post correction notices on videos with false climate change information.
YouTube automatically placed ads on some of the videos containing misinformation regarding climate change, making money for the service and the content creators, according to Avaaz.
This could apply to news videos expressing rival sides of the climate change debate. YouTube works with advertisers and provides tools to opt-out of having their ads displayed with certain types of content, such as climate change discourse.
Avaaz said after seeing the YouTube response that the company’s rankings lacked transparency and “put a blackbox around their algorithm preventing researchers and investigators from seeing exactly what is happening inside.”
“The bottom line is that YouTube should not feature, suggest, promote, advertise or lead users to misinformation,” Deruy said.