The Internet Archive has warned users to be especially careful when clicking on stories that have been debunked or deleted on a live webcast, following reports that people are spreading fake new coronavirus messages through its Wayback machine, according tomedia reports. As NBC’s Brandy Zadrozny pointed out on Twitter, Wayback Machine had a prominent banner on a popular Medium post, which was removed as an error message.
It is understood that its video profile will also allow users to log in to watch videos containing false information, such as the retweeted plot documentary “Plandemic.” The videos also include critical comments from Mark Graham, director of Wayback Machine, who explained the warnings to Zadrozny as an example of “the importance and value of context in the archiving process.”
The Internet Archive provides a valuable resource for understanding the Internet. In 2017, it partnered with first Draft News, a fact-checking agency that uses the Wayback machine to verify information online. In addition, it tries to label error messages in its TV archives. In April, however, researcher Joan Donovan noted in the MIT Technology Review that the archive had inadvertently helped spread false stories about the new corona virus because users could find and share archived copies of pages (“zombie content”) banned or deleted by social media platforms.
It is unclear how effective these warnings will be. Major web platforms are still evaluating when content alerts can help people avoid false information and when they may spark a backlash among users who don’t trust official sources. There are other web caching sites that let people save and share deleted content. In the Internet Archive, fans of the video can leave comments next to or above Graham’s fact check. But these changes suggest that the Internet Archive officially recognizes the misinformation of the new corona virus as a problem and is looking for ways to mitigate it.