San Francisco: In a major goof-up, popular video-sharing platform YouTube projected it upon impressionable minds that -- the Earth is flat -- raising the number of people who now seriously believe the planet to be a flat unending stretch of land, a study said.
The fact which is to the contrary was proved almost five centuries back, when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan famously circumnavigated the Earth from 1519-1522, which would have been impossible if it had had an edge.
However, Google-owned YouTube is now contributing to people believing the Earth is round.
"Their suspicion was raised when they attended the world's largest gatherings of 'Flat Earthers' at the movement's annual conference in Rayleigh, North Carolina, in 2017, and then in Denver, Colorado, last year," The Guardian reported late on Sunday.
According to Asheley Landrum, who led the research at Texas Tech University, identified the prime driver for the startling rise in the number of Flat-believers.
A poll conducted by London-based market research company YouGov in 2018 found only two-thirds of young people surveyed, "firmly believed" that the Earth was round.
"Of the 30 people, one said they had not considered the Earth to be flat two years ago but changed their minds after watching videos promoting conspiracy theories on YouTube," Landrum was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
Meanwhile, Google has acknowledged there's more it can do to combat the spread of false information on YouTube. In January, it outlined new plans designed to push back the false belief, according to the CNET.
The YouTube team in a blog post said: "We'll begin reducing recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways -- such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat, or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11."