YouTube to Curb Recommending Conspiracy Videos

A.Goldberg

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https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2019/01/25/youtube-stop-recommending-conspiracy-videos-misinform-users/2677506002/

In a blog post posted Friday, YouTube said it will begin to reduce recommending "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."
YouTube was responding to public backlash after its trending videos tab gave a wide platform to clips that shared false or misleading information about breaking national news events, like the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, or the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.

YouTube says this algorithm shift will apply to less than 1 percent of the content on YouTube, but that "limiting the recommendation of these types of videos will mean a better experience for the YouTube community."
I welcome YouTube’s decision to do this. It’s ridicoulous how many 9/11, Sandy Hook, moon landing, flat earth, vaccine safety, etc videos fall into reccomended viewing. Working in medicine I can’t tell you the amount of misinformation gets spread around just in regards to medication. While the internet is an amazing source of information, it is also becoming an incredible source of misinformation.

That said, I hope YouTube finds a way not to fall into getting wrapped up in political matters more than they already have. There is a bit of a slippery slope argument here, but YouTube isn’t outright banning videos and I assume they will limit their adjustments to blatant, classical conspiracies.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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I get a lot of paranormal videos recommended to me which on some level are conspiracy theory because somehow ghosts are related to aliens, but not only do I generally like those but ghosts don’t have any party affiliations, usually.
 
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ThisBougieLife

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I support this idea too.

There's definitely a "cake and eat it too" attitude when it comes to this issue. People recognize that Facebook and YouTube et al. help spread misinformation and they want them to "do something about it", but doing something about it is going to require restricting the platform a bit. This problem of social media and the spread of misinformation is something we're just beginning to reckon with. This is a small move, but I think it's a move in the right direction.
 
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Tor Eckman

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I support this idea too.

There's definitely a "cake and eat it too" attitude when it comes to this issue. People recognize that Facebook and YouTube et al. help spread misinformation and they want them to "do something about it", but doing something about it is going to require restricting the platform a bit.

Not just restricting it, but restricting it selectively.
 
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LIVEFRMNYC

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If people blindly believe the Earth is flat based on a conspiracy video, then there's a problem with people, NOT the video provider or content creator. Same goes with miracle cures and historic conspiracies.

YouTube has become CensorshipTube over the years, and is only getting worst. Beginning of their lost of dominance? Just maybe.
 

FrankieTDouglas

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https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2019/01/25/youtube-stop-recommending-conspiracy-videos-misinform-users/2677506002/




I welcome YouTube’s decision to do this. It’s ridicoulous how many 9/11, Sandy Hook, moon landing, flat earth, vaccine safety, etc videos fall into reccomended viewing. Working in medicine I can’t tell you the amount of misinformation gets spread around just in regards to medication. While the internet is an amazing source of information, it is also becoming an incredible source of misinformation.

That said, I hope YouTube finds a way not to fall into getting wrapped up in political matters more than they already have. There is a bit of a slippery slope argument here, but YouTube isn’t outright banning videos and I assume they will limit their adjustments to blatant, classical conspiracies.
Sounds like a conspiracy. I wonder if videos on Youtube about Youtube's path of censorship will also be flagged as "conspiracy."
 

Solver

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“I’m trying to warn you that it’s a powderkeg ready to explode! I don’t know what will trigger it, but it could be something as simple as an Indian playing a drum a near smiling teen. And if it reaches critical mass before being diffused innocent people could easily be killed! You got to believe me! Here’s a video I made to prove it,”
- blocked by youtube -
 
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A.Goldberg

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If people blindly believe the Earth is flat based on a conspiracy video, then there's a problem with people, NOT the video provider or content creator. Same goes with miracle cures and historic conspiracies.

YouTube has become CensorshipTube over the years, and is only getting worst. Beginning of their lost of dominance? Just maybe.
I agree if people are willing to believe some of the nonsense out there, it’s perhaps indicative of a greater problem. With a lot of conspiracy theories I love to ask what the motive is or what difference does it make. Prime example is Flat Earth- what reason would the world governments and scientists possibly have to lie about the geometry of the earth?

Again, I think it’s fair to say there is a slippery slope argument- especially when it comes to political matters. I don’t see a problem however if this is applied to blatantly false things like Flat Earthers, Moon landing hoaxes, etc. It’s not banning the content, it’s not reccomending it. If people want to seek out videos on such topics, then it shouldn’t have an impact.

I feel like these problems social media sites and YouTube are experiencing in terms of misinformation is a lot like the problems Wikipedia had years ago.

The false and misleading health information drives me crazy. I’ve seen the consequences of this first hand. The problem however isn’t limited to YouTube though. There are plenty of sites with BS information. Even accurate medical information for legitimate sources can often be misconstrued by non-medically educated individuals. It’s a double edged sword- patients should knowledgeable about their health conditions and treatments (in fact I encourage my patients to be involved in their healthcare), however too much information, misapplied information, not understanding naunces or statistics, etc can be incredibly detrimental, if not dangerous or even deadly.
 
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Zenithal

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I don't view it as censorship. If you want to watch garbage, feel free to start your own streaming platform. It's their's, their rules. Why don't we let soft-core pornography on YouTube? What about religious mutilation videos?
 

FrankieTDouglas

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Speaking of conspiracies on Youtube...


PewDiePie's most recent video discusses Youtube's demonetization practices. If you look at the comments either on Youtube or where it's been shared on Reddit, many people have commented on how this video doesn't show up in their subscription feed. Can confirm, it doesn't show up in my subscription feed, either. It's either a copy strike instance (which would be hilariously ironic, given the material within the video), or we're seeing Youtube's new structuring happen already.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

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It’s not banning the content, it’s not reccomending it. If people want to seek out videos on such topics, then it shouldn’t have an impact.
I don't view it as censorship. If you want to watch garbage, feel free to start your own streaming platform. It's their's, their rules. Why don't we let soft-core pornography on YouTube? What about religious mutilation videos?
As I believe, recommendations is based on the history of what content the viewer watches. I know it's like that for me.

If people already watched several "Earth is Flat" kind of content, it would be a disservice to a viewer to stop recommendations. And it would also be unfair, since viewers that watch other content do get good recommendations.

So IMHO, it is censoring in a manipulative kind of manner.
 

A.Goldberg

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As I believe, recommendations is based on the history of what content the viewer watches. I know it's like that for me.

If people already watched several "Earth is Flat" kind of content, it would be a disservice to a viewer to stop recommendations. And it would also be unfair, since viewers that watch other content do get good recommendations.

So IMHO, it is censoring in a manipulative kind of manner.
I think that’s probably an over simplification of the matter. Yes if people search flat earth if will probably reccomend flat earth videos in the future. Under the new algorithm I might guess is may continue doing that. I think the situation is more like you watch videos about astronomy and end up with recommendations/auto play videos on flat earth. Or you watch videos about NASA and end up with moon landing hoax videos. And maybe even seemingly unrelated correlations like you watch a lot of car videos and end up with 9/11 hoax videos because for some reason some people who watch car videos also watch a lot of 9/11 hoax videos (just making that up for the sake of illustration, but thats how a lot of web marketing works as it is).
 
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Zenithal

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As I believe, recommendations is based on the history of what content the viewer watches. I know it's like that for me.

If people already watched several "Earth is Flat" kind of content, it would be a disservice to a viewer to stop recommendations. And it would also be unfair, since viewers that watch other content do get good recommendations.

So IMHO, it is censoring in a manipulative kind of manner.
The not interested button also censors similar videos, even fringe videos of a categorized video you're watching. In that case, is it censorship, too?
[doublepost=1548504520][/doublepost]
I think that’s probably an over simplification of the matter. Yes if people search flat earth if will probably reccomend flat earth videos in the future. Under the new algorithm I might guess is may continue doing that. I think the situation is more like you watch videos about astronomy and end up with recommendations/auto play videos on flat earth. Or you watch videos about NASA and end up with moon landing hoax videos. And maybe even seemingly unrelated correlations like you watch a lot of car videos and end up with 9/11 hoax videos because for some reason some people who watch car videos also watch a lot of 9/11 hoax videos (just making that up for the sake of illustration, but thats how a lot of web marketing works as it is).

Fun fact. I watch a lot of automotive stuff on YouTube. What I get on my recommendation sections when signed in is both automotive videos and fish butchering videos. As in tuna, salmon, pufferfish, crabs, etc. I can say without a doubt I have never watched videos like this let alone fishing videos. I rarely clear out my history and nothing in my YouTube history points to me watching that kind of stuff.

Other times it's fairly accurate. I recently watched some Slavic cuisine videos and I'm getting videos on upscale restaurants and modern gastropubs in Moscow by some guide.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

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I think that’s probably an over simplification of the matter. Yes if people search flat earth if will probably reccomend flat earth videos in the future. Under the new algorithm I might guess is may continue doing that. I think the situation is more like you watch videos about astronomy and end up with recommendations/auto play videos on flat earth. Or you watch videos about NASA and end up with moon landing hoax videos. And maybe even seemingly unrelated correlations like you watch a lot of car videos and end up with 9/11 hoax videos because for some reason some people who watch car videos also watch a lot of 9/11 hoax videos (just making that up for the sake of illustration, but thats how a lot of web marketing works as it is).

That's true, but if you watch a NASA video, you'll probably only get one moon landing hoax recommendation out of ten space science videos. I personally never seen a flood of hoax videos being recommended to me by relation of a topic.
 

A.Goldberg

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That's true, but if you watch a NASA video, you'll probably only get one moon landing hoax recommendation out of ten space science videos. I personally never seen a flood of hoax videos being recommended to me by relation of a topic.
I had a period when I binged a bunch of Apollo documentaries. There were a large number of hoax videos in the reccomendation column and front page despite the fact I never watched or searched for such videos or any other conspiracies.
 

hawkeye_a

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That said, I hope YouTube finds a way not to fall into getting wrapped up in political matters more than they already have. There is a bit of a slippery slope argument here, but YouTube isn’t outright banning videos and I assume they will limit their adjustments to blatant, classical conspiracies.
I suspect the purpose of this decision is politically motivated(nothing wrong with that), but let’s assume its not for now.

Right off the bat, YouTube/Google as a private company are fully within their rights to choose what can or cannot be hosted on their platform. I do not want government interfering with that.

The part i’m struggling with is...
The context of the content and who decides what is “misinformation”. For example, bear with me here....
Back in the time of Galileo, conventional wisdom was that the earth was at the center of the universe. Imagine oneself living in that period, and along comes Galileo claiming the earth is not at the center of universe, essentially contradicting the powers-that-be at the time(The Catholic Church), and his work/claim/theory is branded “misinformation”.

How do we prevent that from happening? When someone’s idea(s) challenge conventional ideas & wisdom?

(On a side note, i dont think “science”/“religion”/“politics”/etc have a monopoly on “truth”. And anyone of them, if given the chance would try to silence the others IMHO).
 
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A.Goldberg

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The context of the content and who decides what is “misinformation”. For example, bear with me here....
Back in the time of Galileo, conventional wisdom was that the earth was at the center of the universe. Imagine oneself living in that period, and along comes Galileo claiming the earth is not at the center of universe, essentially contradicting the powers-that-be at the time(The Catholic Church), and his work/claim/theory is branded “misinformation”.

How do we prevent that from happening? When someone’s idea(s) challenge conventional ideas & wisdom?
These are my concerns as well. I think however if these reccomendations are steered away from nearly universally accepted conspiracy theories then there is a greater sense of security- however Galileo is the same example that came to mind. Thatbsaid nearly everyone agrees the earth is not flat and we have legitimate scientific evidence to prove otherwise.
 

MacAndMic

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As a viewer, I’m offended they think that I am so stupid that I can’t figure things out for myself and require protection. On the other hand, maybe I am naive and don’t realize that people are really that stupid. ????
 

Solver

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As a viewer, I’m offended they think that I am so stupid that I can’t figure things out for myself and require protection. On the other hand, maybe I am naive and don’t realize that people are really that stupid. ????
This is getting to the point that very recently even my mom, sending out information about the next horse show to members of her local horse association, is having Google systematically send her emails to a spam folder in all their inboxes.
:(
 
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yaxomoxay

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I am a very calm person, but the moon landing hoaxers always piss me off. It’s the only thing I censor on my FB when someone mentions it or tags me. :mad:
 

ericgtr12

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If people blindly believe the Earth is flat based on a conspiracy video, then there's a problem with people, NOT the video provider or content creator. Same goes with miracle cures and historic conspiracies.

YouTube has become CensorshipTube over the years, and is only getting worst. Beginning of their lost of dominance? Just maybe.
People also believe climate change is fake because right wing media spreads opinions as facts, even when the imperical evidence and facts are abundantly available. Same goes for anti-vaxers. I am glad to see them fighting back, without all this mis-information muddying the waters Trump would've likely not been elected either. It's up to our media outlets to take on some of the responsibility of verifying, or at least not treating crackpots as equals.
 

Zenithal

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Empirical.

My usual response to anti-vaxxers is "Don't come crying when your kid dies." I read a simple retort to that nonsense in the Boston Herald a while back about how they won't do vaccines but readily throw out bad food whenever the FDA published a tainted food alert.
 

Tech198

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I don't think conspiracy videos doesn't miss-inform anyone... The fact you can't find evidence online to back it up doesn't mean it's not true
I'm sure we all have evidence somewhere we choose not to share either ,..I know i sure do.... Not even my family even knows.

YT is all about sharing,so why would YT wanna prevent certain videos ? The moment you start to lean in one direction, other people will complain.
 
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warp9

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Jun 8, 2017
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The rise in conspiracy theories has a direct correlation with the rise of the internet, and for good reason.

The human brain attempts to put information into an order that makes sense to us. When that information becomes too much, we create implausible scenarios from non-related pieces of information in an effort to maintain a sense of order. Conspiracy videos are simply scenarios created by overloaded people who happen to have video production skills.

Considering the alternative is fear and anxiety from an otherwise unpredictable environment, it's not surprising we do this. The best treatment for someone who is spiralling into information overload is unplugging, preferably with the help of a friend or mental health professional.


p.s.
Star Trek Voyager did an episode on this (6x09). Seven of Nine downloaded the ships computer logs into her Borg implant and promptly turned into a conspiracy nut, tying together bits of information that had nothing to do with each other. Quite a prescient episode considering Google had just come online the year previous.

p.p.s.
Sorry for the necro.
 

LordVic

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https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2019/01/25/youtube-stop-recommending-conspiracy-videos-misinform-users/2677506002/




I welcome YouTube’s decision to do this. It’s ridicoulous how many 9/11, Sandy Hook, moon landing, flat earth, vaccine safety, etc videos fall into reccomended viewing. Working in medicine I can’t tell you the amount of misinformation gets spread around just in regards to medication. While the internet is an amazing source of information, it is also becoming an incredible source of misinformation.

That said, I hope YouTube finds a way not to fall into getting wrapped up in political matters more than they already have. There is a bit of a slippery slope argument here, but YouTube isn’t outright banning videos and I assume they will limit their adjustments to blatant, classical conspiracies.
Needs to be better for sure.

I like watching science videos on youtube. Yet, my "recommended because you like science" often includes grand anti-science conspiracy theories with no validity. and teh videos are often just guys sitting in their bedroom at their parents house showing screenshots of poor photos claiming they somehow prove "X", despite what the "man" tells you.

it's nonsense. It's amazing that youtube, and the like allow for anyone to have a voice. But at the same time, it sucks that everyone decided that their voice was worth something, no matter how pathetic, stupid, horrible, or down right scary their thoughts are.
[doublepost=1561637826][/doublepost]
I think that’s probably an over simplification of the matter. Yes if people search flat earth if will probably reccomend flat earth videos in the future. Under the new algorithm I might guess is may continue doing that. I think the situation is more like you watch videos about astronomy and end up with recommendations/auto play videos on flat earth. Or you watch videos about NASA and end up with moon landing hoax videos. And maybe even seemingly unrelated correlations like you watch a lot of car videos and end up with 9/11 hoax videos because for some reason some people who watch car videos also watch a lot of 9/11 hoax videos (just making that up for the sake of illustration, but thats how a lot of web marketing works as it is).
to my earlier comment:

This is what happens to me. Exactly. Watch SpaceX launch, tomorrow I've got flat earth nonsense in my recommendations.

What "everyday astranaughts" channel to learn something about rockets, Tomorrow i get moon landing hoax videos.

If you regularly search for Flat earth, and you get recommended flat earther videos, than it's doing it's job right. But at no point is recommending that nonsense to me because I watch science stuff appropriate in any shape or form and shows an outright broken recommendation system, OR, nefarious actors mislabelling their videos tags to purposely get put into recommendations that they don't belong on.

either way, it needs to get fixed and cleaned up.

This isn't censorship. Anyone claiming such is basically acting as such because they're offended that their absolutely nonsense is no longer going to be spread to people who don't want to see it. So maybe if they just stopped with their nonsense.