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YouTube Regrets

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:,, Dtube and many others.

Also read YouTube’s Search Algorithm Directs Viewers to False and Sexualized Videos, Study Finds

Get the full report