YouTube's recommendation algorithm has been subject to widespread criticism from all corners for quite some time. Now, Firefox owner Mozilla wants YouTube to fix issues with its recommendation algorithm that lead users to harmful videos on the platform. Mozilla recently launched a new campaign called #YouTubeRegret. As part of it, Mozilla wants you to submit your story (via Google form) about how you might have ended up watching a wrongly recommended video on YouTube.
"Once, at 2 a.m., you searched YouTube for “Did aliens build Stonehenge?” Ever since, your YouTube recommendations have been a mess: Roswell, wormholes, Illuminati. YouTube’s recommendation engine can lead users down bizarre rabbit holes — and they’re not always harmless. Sometimes they drive people toward misinformation and extreme viewpoints," read the description of the campaign.
Mozilla said they have a meeting with YouTube in two weeks where they will ask YouTube to "make serious commitments towards fixing this problem." Mozilla added the reason they are collecting user stories discussing how they got to point A to point B, is to pressurise YouTube into fixing their recommendation algorithm.
YouTube’s recommendation engine can suggest just what you’re looking for—or, lead you deeper & deeper down a hole of misinformation & hatred.— Mozilla (@mozilla) September 11, 2019
We’re collecting users’ #YouTubeRegrets—videos that altered your recommendations for the worse. Share them here: https://t.co/psttEyqaFZ pic.twitter.com/ZJIoo3Bo3T
Commenting on Mozilla's campaign, ex-YouTube engineer Guillaume Chaslot, who happens to be one of the vocal critics of YouTube's recommendation algorithm, said: "Now when you see absurd/hateful recommendations on YouTube, you have somewhere to report by which video it started."
Now when you see absurd/hateful recommendations on YouTube, you have somewhere to report by which video it started https://t.co/OgKKr6UQaG— Guillaume Chaslot (@gchaslot) September 12, 2019
Recently, YouTube said it removed over 1 lakh videos, over 17,000 channels and 500 million comments hate speech. YouTube has also been cracking down on 'violent' and 'mature' videos targetting children. Last month, YouTube also terminated the account of a 14-year-old for hate-speech. In June, YouTube tightened its policies around harmful videos, days after IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad warned against the misuse of digital platforms in India.