Time to Clean up Websites


The Gist

  • Critical cleanup. Remove outdated content on websites to avoid serious risks or misinformation to those who consume the content.
  • Junkyard web. The internet’s vast array of low-quality content challenges both AI accuracy and human trust.
  • Urgent action needed. Organizations must prioritize content management to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation.

In November 2022, Soumya Swaminathan, the departing chief scientist for the WHO, gave an interview to ScienceInsider. She was asked whether “your biggest mistake as chief scientist was not calling SARS-CoV-2 airborne?” She replied that, “We should have done it much earlier, based on the available evidence, and it is something that has cost the organization.” 

WHO Downplays COVID Airborne Transmission

In February 2024, more than two years after that interview, if you search about COVID transmission, the WHO website will downplay — if not practically dismiss — airborne transmission.

“Early in the pandemic, the World Health Organization stated that SARS-CoV-2 was not transmitted through the air,” Dyani Lewis wrote in Nature in 2022. “That mistake and the prolonged process of correcting it sowed confusion and raises questions about what will happen in the next pandemic.”

Related Article: 5 Ways to Repurpose Outdated Content to Your Advantage

Remove Outdated Content: WHO’s Outdated COVID Content Unchecked

Let’s talk about the need to remove outdated content. 

In February 2024, on the WHO website, that mistake had not been fixed. Old, out-of-date, inaccurate, misleading content remains on the WHO website and it seems will remain there forever, misinforming people about things that are vital to their health. The WHO needs to remove outdated content on its site.

This is totally unsurprising. I have spent almost 30 years working on web content for some of the largest organizations in the world. (I even did a Top Tasks project for WHO a number of years ago.) Ninety-five percent of the organizations I have worked with have neither the capacity nor the interest to manage their content after it has been published. Stuff is just left up on the website without any oversight or concern.

Related Article: Tips for Revitalizing Old Content for New Customer Experiences

AI’s Data Crisis: Web’s Toxic Junkyard

Think of the implications of this for AI, whose primary source of data is the web. The web is a giant junkyard, a landfill, a toxic dump of crap content, of spam, of marketing lies, of out-of-date content. And this is before we even think about automatically created content by AI systems themselves. It is not at all a surprise that AI spouts lies, crap and gibberish. There’s an old computer saying: Crap in. Crap out. Remove outdated content.

A bright blue industrial grabber used to load scrap metal in a junkyard in piece about the need to remove outdated content on websites.
The web is a giant junkyard, a landfill, a toxic dump of crap content, of spam, of marketing lies, of out-of-date content. photollurg on Adobe Stock Photos


Source link