YouTube’s recommended videos drives 70% of views, according to the the Google-owned company. These often engaging videos can be extreme, disturbing and surprising — leading people to regret watching the video at all. Therefore the non-profit Mozilla, owner of the non-tracking Firefox, decided to understand the process, as YouTube never responded to their questions. They produced a browser extension, RegreteReporter, for users to install and thus to tell whenever they regret seeing a video.
37,000 volunteers from 190 countries installed the extension, 3.362 from 91 countries reported back to Mozilla and based on the data, Mozilla concludes that most of the regrets (71%) came from videos suggested by YouTube by their automatic recommendataion algorithm. The most frequent regret categories were misinformation, violent or graphic content, hate speech, and spam/scams.
Mozilla recommends following:
- Platforms must enable researchers to audit recommendation systems.
- Platforms must publish information about how recommendation systems work,as well as transparency reports that give sufficient insight into problem areas and progress over time.
- Policy makers must require YouTube to release information and create tools that enable independent scrutiny of their recommendatio nalgorithms.
- Policy makers must protect researchers, journalists,and other watchdogs who use alternative methods than those provided by platformsto investigate them.
- People should update data settings on YouTube and Google to make sure they have the right controls in place for themselves andtheir families.
Alternative platforms to YouTube: Vimeo.com, twentythree.net, Dtube and many others.