Saudi Arabia's Misk forum calls on media to invest in big data 

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The Misk Media Forum, organized by the Initiatives Center of the Prince Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk) was held on Saturday in Cairo, Egypt. (SPA) 
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The Misk Media Forum, organized by the Initiatives Center of the Prince Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk) was held on Saturday in Cairo, Egypt. (SPA) 
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The Misk Media Forum, organized by the Initiatives Center of the Prince Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk) was held on Saturday in Cairo, Egypt. (SPA) 
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The Misk Media Forum, organized by the Initiatives Center of the Prince Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk) was held on Saturday in Cairo, Egypt. (SPA) 
Updated 26 October 2019

Saudi Arabia's Misk forum calls on media to invest in big data 

  • The forum called on media institutions to invest in big data, and to find media solutions to developmental needs in Arab societies
  • It stressed the need to benefit from deep learning and machine learning techniques, branches of artificial intelligence (AI), to develop the media industry in the Arab region

CAIRO: The Misk Media Forum, organized by the Initiatives Center of the Prince Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk) was held on Saturday in Cairo, Egypt. 
The forum stressed the need to benefit from deep learning and machine learning techniques, branches of artificial intelligence (AI), to develop the media industry in the Arab region.
The forum also called on media institutions to invest in big data, and to find media solutions to developmental needs in Arab societies.
The director of the forum, Ahouda Al-Arfaj, delivered the opening speech, held under the theme “smart transformations in the media industry” with the participation of an elite group of speakers and specialists from 12 countries around the world.
She highlighted the importance of reaching advanced stages in information technology (IT) in the global race for the media industry.
Al-Arfaj said that “automated journalism” could produce a wide spectrum of news stories, as well as weather conditions, soccer results and even the financial results of companies, among others. 
She extended thanks to Egypt for hosting the forum, hoping it would make a difference and have a positive impact on the media industry in the country, and you people interested in the field.      
During the first session held under the theme “Media: A tool to run the world,” and in the presence of the Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki, Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Osama Nugali addressed the participants, and said: “Official media outlets must be present during, and not after, important events. Media formulations shape public opinion, and the official media — despite being powerful — cannot have any significant effect attending events late. It cannot deal with views shaped by other media outlets that preceded it in covering the event.”   
Regarding the role of the new generation in delivering ideas and news in a way that influences society, Nugali said that no generation was born out of nothing — all generations learn from one another and benefit from others’ expertise. The next generation, though, is opting for self-development to reach public opinion.
Regarding the official media ministries in Arab countries and the importance of their roles, Nugali said: “I think that the media represents an idea and a vision more than an administrative body, and the basis is to develop the informational idea. 
“If media ministries find a way to deal with the new reality and understand the current development, their existence cannot be harmful. Saudi Arabia is a living example, where we started dealing with the media as a concept and a vision, and there is great development in the ministry.”         
Zaki shed light on the development of the media to keep up with the developments in social platforms, where the mechanisms of developing social media have become more advanced.
“The ‘mindset’ can make the difference; the person delivering the idea can be more influential if they had the right mindset to deal with the situation, without risking spreading ideas and analysis with unreliable sources and instead, focusing on credibility,” he said.


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.