What Is YouTube Pushing You to Watch Next?

YouTube makes its money by keeping you hooked, but critics say this leads it to boost extremism and conspiracies.


Comments: 98

  1. Looks like another version of The Great Hack. They did Cambridge Analytica and Facebook so you're doing YouTube. One thing, though, is the election itself. Many or most of Brasilians were just sick of the party of Lula/Dilma/Temer, the PT, and voted against their heir, Haddad. The problem with journalists is they parachute into a country without the requisite language skills or local knowledge. Next week they'll be "experts" on climate change in Togo. After that, well you get my point. Why not use local NYT writers like Ernesto Londiño and Vanessa Barbara? Send them the story idea and see what they come up with. Sorry, but this article seems to be a solution in search of a problem

  2. I know that this may totally amaze many people, but YouTube hasn’t pushed me to do anything. I don’t watch it!!! Now, before you go into shock, go into your safe space, think about your happy place, try some yoga poses, and breath deeply.

  3. @stevevelo What is your problem? There is no question that many people who watch YouTube do go straight down the rabbit hole and seek out false and extreme content--and there's no question that YouTube algorithms are very good at getting them to do it. Saying that 'you don't watch it' and then assume that people who practice yoga need to go to their safe places to get over the shock is a rather inane statement.

  4. I think you mean 'boost conspiracy theories." there isn't any indication that YouTube "boost[s] conspiracies."

  5. I just watched a 1-hour 7-minute Joe Rogan podcast with Bernie Sanders on Youtube. What does the mainstream media give us? 45-second soundbites on "debates" engineered for ratings, designed for conflict and drama and ratings--not enlightenment. Our politics has been twisted into a profit-maximizing media enterprise. Don't blame Youtube for stupid people. Why are people persuaded by fringe ideas and bigotry? Because it's in them. This is an indictment of our parenting and our education systems. Ignorance is the problem, not any social media.

  6. Yes, people are stupid. Also, social media is an immensely powerful shaper of opinion and emotion. Shades of grey typically apply in most real life situations. NYT readers top-voting your black and white summation is a bit of a surprise.

  7. @tanstaafl - And I would go a step further and ultimately blame those who have made the accumulation of money their guiding principle in life. They are the ones that have designed the way in which money works in society.

  8. @tanstaafl I watched Joe Rogan's Bernie Sander's interview as well. I felt it was great and was very happy to have a format where ideas could be discussed with some sort of depth. Rogan also did an interview with Tulsi Gabbard that I also found excellent, engaging and with useful information. What about TED talks? I am thrilled to have them at my fingertips. YouTube is what you make of it. I am, personally, happy to have this democratic way of obtaining information. I read the NYT and I am also very aware of the editorial bias and take that into consideration. I like having alternative sources of the news. MSM is controlled by a very small group of individuals. I feel they are threatened by what is happening now on YouTube.

  9. I have seen many articles here now decry Brazil´s new presidente, Bolsonaro. Yes, he is not perfect. Yes, he lacks many of the qualities we wish we could have in a president. But, what this and the many articles in this newspaper always fail to mention is that Bolsonaro was elected by people who were tired of the corruption, of the assault on government´s coffers to the tune of billions by politicians from the Labor Party, the PT. Many are in jail today, including a former president, but the fight to rid the corruption continues even as the opposition maneuvers incessantly to regain power. Brazilians did not elect Bolsonaro as much as they tried to get rid of the corruption that made life miserable for the millions who lost their Jobs and their businesses during the PT years. This fact should never be forgotten:

  10. @T. Silva - Yours seems to be the same type of “logic” Trump supporters in the U.S. use to justify their adherence to a man who is working diligently to dismantle the mechanisms of our government and the foundations of our democracy. For the sake of wishful thinking, these supporters have chosen to turn a blind eye to all the corruption and tremendous threats that Trump poses, not only to our country, but the entire world. Rather than taking a moment to seriously consider the very real grave threat that Trump presents to our delicate democracy, they prefer to do implausible mental gymnastics to justify their support. Be brave enough to actually consider the protests and objections posed by opposing viewpoints, rather than simply trying to justify your own. You may be surprised by what you find.

  11. Hi, is there any way to watch the episodes, as a NYT subscriber, without HULU? It is not available here in Guatemala.

  12. As long as YouTube keeps running the sites I'm hooked on, I have no complaints. BTW, YouTube is attempting to demonetize the sites I like--the Progressive political ones, like David Pakman, Sam Sedar, Humanist Report, Kyle Kulinski, TYT, etc. If YouTube stops paying these creators, I will stop using YouTube, and find some other way to watch them.

  13. Wow, this coincides with a pattern that I noticed recently, that comments in Bolsonaro's favor are always better ranked on YouTube, to the point you basically never see negative comments on the top positions. Let's remember that his popularity on general society is about 30%(in favor), how can you have such a different scenario on YouTube comments?

  14. All the ways social media complicates and destabilizes long-held social norms is still largely unrecognized. Whether the influence is for the better, for the worse is up for grabs in each case, either through sinister manipulation of the platforms or just the willy-nilly nature of unintended consequences. I'd rather have the old, deliberative, paper-trail oriented nature of our democracy back--warts and all--than this post-truth, knee-jerk, hacked cyber-environment that passes for real life these days. Is it curmudgeonly or even too much to ask to request that we think through the perceivable outcomes before we let each shiny new tech-genie out of the bottle? Hello, cruel world! Faster, sexier, on-trend, ad-focused, disturbingly undemocratic, populist-leaning, lowest common-denominator...wait, what?

  15. It’s worth noting that the New York Times also personalizes browsing by suggesting to users articles they’re likely to find interesting. This is why ‘For You’ is front and center on the Times mobile app. Personalized browsing equals more content consumption and ultimately more ad revenue for platforms. This is how YouTube, the Times, and thousands of other companies monetize digital content.

  16. So, is there a way as a NYT subscriber I can watch this?

  17. Check your local listings. As if you didn't know. Don't play disingenuous with NYTIMES readers. We're a bit more sophisticated than the audience you are accustomed to bamboozeling.

  18. @Dick I wish there was. I'm in Canada, and FX Canada doesn't carry it. Hulu isn't available here either.

  19. This is interesting, intriguing, disturbing to say the least. However, if you search for Dave Brubeck or Harry Belafonte, Ella Fitzgerald, the Three Tenors, the results are spectacular and joy-making. Personalized browsing is indeed a very confusing issue.

  20. So the free access to the Internet for youtube, whatsapp etc is not always simply an expression of freedom and openness. It is a powerful political force that will always naturally be against progressive politics and for reactionary elements. Always. The world is now gradually awakening to the power of the Internet to change the world for the worse.

  21. Social Media is opening people’s eyes and minds to the alt-left liberal lunacy.

  22. When liberals and alt-left parties lose elections, it’s never their candidates fault... Blame it on: - Social Media - Dumb electorate - Rigged elections - Big corporations - Electoral college - Poor rural white folks - White supremacy, whatever this means - Voter suppression - Religiosity - NRA - Fox News - the RUSSIANS But when liberals win, they always position it as a mandate for their lunatic alt-left ideas. At this point 2020 looks good for Trump.

  23. The NYTIMES is the most diabolical group in America. They constantly conspire to manipulate our institutions to push and push and push their agenda down our throats. Since Hillary lost, there has been a siege to prevent this from ever happening again. Attacking algorithms is a way to control the flow of information to limit information and hide unwanted messages. All to promote a political agenda. This kind of power is a drug to progressives who love to squelch the truth and promote lies. They believe all other viewpoints are wrong. Which is why they must be stopped.

  24. That this is a teaser for FX/Hulu is troubling.

  25. The "Internet" and it's children of "Social Media" have not met MY expectations. I am fortunate enough to have a stellar education and lots of experience and can pretty well sort out questionable or blatantly false hyperbole. I do NOT use FaceBook or Twitter because they have become weaponized by trolls, bots and other ignorant and dark forces and are not worth my time or aggravation. I can communicate in any number of other ways quite adequately. I do not care what some egocentric twit is doing every moment nor will I bite dog whistles from fringe idiots. I seek FACTS and TRUTH - they'r out there; you just have to have the tools to get to them. I read every legitimate news source and unbiased commentary and analysis I can get my hands on, not only for the love of learning but because that is my responsibility as an American citizen whose vote I value dearly. There are so many better things to lo than listen to the lies of Early AM and Late Evening TrumpTV (Fox) (their mid-day news coverage is, surprisingly good) or more than one news cycle on CNN (the monotony is crippling but true). I meet real people, use a real telephone and email and cherish the NYT. I do not always agree with it, but it's points are well-taken and intellectually stimulating. Perhaps this is the product of a great College Education, critical thinking and decent ethics and morals. YOU decide.

  26. Most radicals on YouTube were demonetized by YouTube. That also should mean they shouldn’t crop of as suggested to watch next. The idea that watching content radicalized your means you have no free will, critical thinking skills, and means you believe things like video games lead to killing sprees. The only people that fall into traps like this have an unstable sense of self or weak identity. Having an unstable sense of self is a sign of mental health issues. Instead of always blaming YouTube or someone with an alternative view on issues (not all are radical in fact please define radical) why aren’t we focusing on fixing broken people and providing solutions. The rhetoric of the nyt is now us vs them. These are some really dark days in journalism.

  27. I subscribe to read articles, not to be asked to watch videos on my iOS device. This trend is very annoying!

  28. I remember when a low-life criminal from Egypt made an obscene, insulting video called "Innocence of Muslims" that he released on YouTube seven years ago. It set off a wave of violent protests throughout Muslim populations, leading to dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. While it was not proven to also have caused the Benghazi terrorist attack, it is seen to have been a motivator for the attack on Camp Bastion that killed two American Marines. But right-wing Americans didn't call for the video maker's deportation. Instead, since he was a supposed Christian who was mocking Muslims, and because the Obama administration criticized the video and the violence it spurred, rightwingers championed the convicted felon video maker and his dubious right to have YiuTube uphold first amendment protections. YouTube could have saved lives by not allowing this violence-inciting video to stay up.

  29. Message to Google: " Stop Doing Evil."

  30. Would I bother you if the rabbit hole pushed left wing propaganda? It works both ways. All you have to do is watch a few Young Turks videos and the next thing you do is start getting videos pushing crazy left wing ideas. This is just another attempt to get internet media companies to start limiting the free speech of the people you disagree with. The Thought Police have declared Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, PayPal, Patreon and many more of Thought Crimes.

  31. Have heard a million complaints re privacy and YouTube viewing. However, I like the music selections, not the accompanying videos, much better than trying to create my ITunes list and the like that seem to lack diversification. I use Spotify and Sirius music clusters but YouTube still wins hands down for me. But beware, there is no privacy and it can all be quite frightening. How come the government is not cracking down on Internet privacy laws? Today simply turning on your cell phone is a potential risk.

  32. The New York times and other corporate media outlets and monopolies have put their consumers into the rabbit hole of the military industrial complex, and corporations interests.

  33. The use by the writers of the notion "unwittingly " as it regards to youtube/google/alphabet 's automated algorithms is irresponsible. Are we to sincerely believe that one of the most profitable companies in the history of civilization, whose ostensible "product" is these algorithms, does any thing "unwittingly". That only provides cover for what you yourself acknowledge: that the up next algorithms drive the majority of traffic. I've done the basic math there and yours doesnt add up.

  34. This is the legacy media lashing out at the much freer and more diverse information landscape that the internet has opened up — in effect, it’s a call for a repressive, illiberal clampdown on public access to information and alternative narratives. It was the corrupt prosecution of Lula that catapulted Bolsonaro to the presidency — see the great work being done, at considerable personal risk, by Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept — not democratic access to information. Shame on the Times for trying to repress the free press.

  35. "Diverse information" sound great in theory. In practice it leads to flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, intelligent-designers, and people who deny humanity ever reached the moon. Outright lies are today counted as "information."

  36. Hmmm....all I get are storage locker and flea market videos, record collecting channels, plus some very nice Clapton and Dire Straits performances. You guys must be watching the wrong stuff.

  37. @Jonathan Try watching videos about video games and you'll find that the 'rabbit hole' leading to extreme right-wing content is very real.

  38. We can not live under the assumption that people are "not intelligent" to put it nicely, and that they are "manipulated" online. Democracy rests on the assumption that each individual is capable of deciding its own future. Under that premise, free speech is a core value that we should cherish, not fight against it. If some people are spreading misinformation, then spread good information. If some people are spreading lies, then lets spread truth. Let the ideas fight it out in the internet, and let people decide.

  39. Spreading requires exposure. Auto-play algorithms eliminate exposure. Merely “spreading” factual information won’t work.

  40. @dcfan “Let the ideas fight it out” And you talk about truth and lies. These aren’t ideas. They are truth and lies. No. Label propaganda as propaganda

  41. After I watch one YouTube video of interest, it invariably pushes more lurid and sensationalistic videos that are presumably meant to keep me locked in as a viewer. I keep having to start my search anew to find the videos that are of interest. The algorithm is an Alice in wonderland game of chutes and ladders to the very cesspool at the bottom. When I search for a French language video, I don’t expect to be served up something from the national Enquirer three videos down . I can always stop in my local supermarket checkout line if I’m looking for graphic tabloids!

  42. Old media crying wolf over new media which is actually more democratic.

  43. It seems that the "For You" option is everywhere on social media. Tik Tok has a "For You Page", Youtube changes the home screen to videos we "might like" just to keep us locked in, and Instagram changes its feed to post related to a post you've liked. You like or watch one thing and the whole format changes. We can't blame people for what goes on, but we can blame ignorance. Some parents ignore the fact that a child can see something on Youtube that they shouldn't, like the Momo videos on Youtube Kids a few months ago. The media looks for gullible people to persuade into negative ideas. It's usually not the person's fault for their actions, unless it's a deathly situation, it's the fact that they were persuaded into that situation.

  44. I don't think it's really YouTube's fault, I think it's the fault of people who can't actually do research and think. it's totally ridiculous blaming an algorithm. kind of makes you wonder if the world is getting more stupid.... wait, after the tide pod challenge don't answer that.

  45. Youtube is entirely based on algorithms. Yes, people have the ability to dislike, skip, or ask not to see or be suggested content like that- but without doing so, the algorithm will run its course. For instance, if I was watching Australia’s 60 minutes program, the upcoming autoplay playlist of videos the algorithm picks will include shows from Australia or the UK. If I start watching Late Night with Seth Meyers, my upcoming autoplay videos will be more Seth Meyers, or Stephen Colbert, as it is forming the algorithm that I am in a comedic, satirical, and political mindset.. I will see ads by the ACLU or trailers for new comedy movies. If I watch a series about the history of WWII, my ads become rather conservatively based, either Prager U or the NRA in some cases.. as neither of these ads appeal to me, I have the ability to select the “i” button and select that I don’t like this ad, don’t want to see this again, or it’s irrelevant. The algorithm is both good and bad. *I’d say experiment* but at your own risk!!! as this is the good/bad of the algorithm in use.. and just select a random video, not of your typical interests and let it play. Then let autoplay continue picking videos to play next and you can see how the algorithm plays out and becomes a black hole where you forget what video you even started with. ** rather than just handing your child or toddler a screen with endless abilities: create an account, *TURN OFF AUTOPLAY* create playlists for your kids to watch.

  46. Nobody doubts that it can be used for good if normal civilians are responsible for making the likes. If you have some way of gaming that, like, say, the use of bots, the work of a 300-man operation from the Kremlin to Macedonian kids doing the grunt work, there’s no way it is innocent.

  47. @Lindsey Lights will stay on (or off) unless you flip the switch. If you feel there's a problem, there's an easy solution.

  48. Plenty of solid journalistic content available on YouTube, but the advertising algorithms are insidiously programmed to push right-wing propaganda (e.g. “Spygate”) at users with left-leaning profiles. This has accelerated over the past 3-4 months to the point where the ads dominate over “general commercial” content. There needs to be a crackdown on this, as it’s only going to get worse as we move into the actual election year.

  49. @Uncle Donald So install an ad blocker if they bother you.

  50. Attacking YouTube for their algorithm missteps is like attacking the game industry for gun violence.

  51. One has a market valuation of $800B and the other a mere percentage of that. You’re poking at the wrong Goliath.

  52. @drew ummm the industry deserves some blame for gun violence?

  53. Now, very much not. RT was a popular cable channel and you tube (and everywhere else) news source.) All you have to do to “weaponize” any source you want is to have a bot press “like” a million times. The Soviets did this over and over. Russian citizens were certain there was a race war every day in the United States. But we could read that and laugh. Yes, we had our problems, but this was the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Bigger problems. The difference with Putin is that he’s appealing to the right, primarily. (Some leftists have a strange blindness to their “active measures.”) But there’s no doubt that in 2016 that Russia was using these active measures, and yes, they put some of the ads in there, but mostly, screwing with an algorithm is finding out how it reacts. Pressing “like” by bot spreads a message far more than if all the normal population would. Then, add in Cambridge Analytica and its weaponized tools of persuasion, based on military intelligence research of how you know each Facebook member’s character, and using voter’s lists and Facebook ID’s and character data, you have a very effective way to change enough voters’ minds to win an electoral college victory.

  54. I only occasionally watch YouTube. I last watched Gladys Knight singing Midnight Train to Georgia and I watched other singers' versions of it, no one ever came close to her soul. Anyway, I don't feel unduly influenced by YouTube. However, I've been a NYT subscriber for a long time and have often wondered why you pushed Hillary's candidacy, why you don't pursue certain stories, etc. I am often discouraged that you kowtow to your wealthy NYC readership with these ridiculous multimillion dollar home features, painting these people as "middle class" when of course they're not. So you seem to have an agenda of your own at times, perhaps you ought to look in the mirror.

  55. @Tom J The car features in the Times and other newspapers has played up the sexiness and keep-up-with-the-Jones of the most repugnant over-priced gas guzzlers for years. These features are meant to please their advertisers first without regard to any actual environmental harm.

  56. Read Manufacturing Consent by Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky. It still holds up. Then read The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu for an update.

  57. @Tom J I think you are conflating the NYT's editorial views with their news coverage which actually does have many interesting features touching on a wide range of topics.

  58. The introduction paragraph sounds exactly like the 2016 US election with a few substitutions of a few nouns. ?! Scary times. We now have gone so far backwards in America, it's like 1940 or 1950 for minorities, women, LBGT, etc... (I diverge...)

  59. I’d also recommend watching a TED talk on this exact topic: “The nightmare videos of childrens’ YouTube - and what’s wrong with the internet today | James Bridle” Please don’t absentmindedly hand your child or toddler a tablet or phone that serves as an empty canvas with access into the depths of whatever is awaiting on the internet / YouTube just as a means to distract them or keep them quiet. Yes they will be zoned in, quiet, and occupied. And it’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to relay back to you some odd 4 second clip within a “normal looking” video or a questionable 3 minute video they saw due to the autoplay feature and it’s title or tags fit your original search, which was likely innocent in good faith. Not saying youtube is bad or handing your kids tablets is bad- but be mindful and active in what their young minds are soaking up and captivated by. Create a family account, turn on safety mode, turn OFF autoplay, create playlists for your kids YOURSELF with videos you have personally saved or added to that playlist and approve of your children viewing. Because Lord knows what all they have been quietly and intently captivated by over the span of 2 hours from just a simple “peppa pig episode” search.

  60. @Lindsey As a child specialist, I beg readers to strictly limit screen time. Yes, your 2 year old is great at swiping on the iPad. So is a monkey. Children should be actively engaged with the world. This is the best preparation for academics and life.

  61. You have to be really careful relying on TED to offer only factual information. TED is often off the rails, expressing points of view, rather than bias-free presentations.

  62. Such nonsense - we’re talking about a social media platform - the internet is about free speech and access to information. You Tube has a team dedicated to removing inappropriate videos - its continuously censures hundreds of videos every day. The site’s not much different than Twitter or Facebook. No conspiracy here - it’s a joke.

  63. YouTube's algorithms are garbage. My grandson watches 5 monkeys jumping on a bed and after a while YouTube is showing him adult themed videos. I think Google's search logic has seriously degraded, most likely in search of more revenue rather than more relevant results.

  64. My You-tube pushes history and historical documentaries. You-tube pushes what you favor. "The push" says more about you than it says about "You-tube".

  65. As a retired person, I watch YouTube quite a lot. It always automatically feed me things similar to or "the program algorithm" thinks similar to what I watch before. It is very difficult to get out of the loop. So I just watch YouTube without log in from time to time. Luckily I also subscribe NY Times, SCMP (South China Morning Post), Barron, etc. I just type in a key word in the YouTube search to look for new type of video to watch. It seems working. Just like FB, I registered long time ago once but never use it. But I can never stop receiving Email from FB daily. They have to stop. I feel like being a caged person that everything I do with no place to hide. YouTube probably knows better about me than I know about myself. I don't like that. Please stop this kind of manipulated algorithm.

  66. Books are provoking the youth to read. Authors using plot “devices” and suspense to trick youth to read more. Books also stealing our wives and daughters by promoting unrealistic depictions of men. Women can’t resist. They are brainwashed to keep reading of long-haired men without shirts in sexual relations. They keep reading this “pornography.” Success of the next generation at risk! Failure and corruption of youth almost completely assured! Harvard Scientists agree! Part 2 in this series tomorrow!

  67. "Watch on Sunday at 10 p.m. on FX and Monday on Hulu." Umm, no. I'm not paying for yet another subscription to get New York Times output, I already am paying for a full boat -- but apparently not getting everything. Not much of a loss, Fisher and Taub are only worth reading once in every three or four pieces, I see no reason their TV show would be any better.

  68. Ironically I was recommended this post and after taking a look at the comments i felt obliged to comment despite being late to the party. There's a clear difference between the NYTimes engaging in recommended articles and youtube. One is housed by professionals and is a reputable institution with no anonymity, the other being a platform where literally anyone across the globe can post a video with practically zero moderation. How you can compare the two companies usage of recommended with a straight face is beyond me. As a 23 year old male who grew up with youtube, it is astounding to see how dark it has gotten over the years. I have a youtube account and I'm consistently recommended far right / offensive videos despite watching no right wing content in the first place. I'll watch the odd political video, but otherwise its mostly gaming and trailers. If even I am getting recommended far-right videos, just imagine what other people get...

  69. There are three little dots next to a video on YouTube. You may click on this and select "not interested" and it gives you a few reasons why you're not interested which includes "I did not like this video" and "I do not like this channel". After checking these boxes the algorithm for your feed will change based on this. I feel like I'm explaining how to operate the TV remote to my grandmother.

  70. This is exactly accurate based on my limited experience on YouTube.

  71. While it may be true that YouTube's algorithm gave far right candidates more expousure on youtube than they would have otherwise gotten, it is entirely a stretch to think that that was some kind of game changer in society as a whole, particularly where much of the base of guys like Trump and Bolsinaro are not that plugged in to the tech world.

  72. I tend to look at youtube for music and how to videos. However whenever there is some news event they return news channels to the recommendation list and if you click on these you are only a few clicks away from some type of conspiracy video. Additionally, anything rather philosophical, like an interview with Aldous Huxley or Noam Chomsky also contains suggested videos that are conspiratorial. I now avoid any news on youtube because it is clear their intent is to lead you to these conspiracies. It is also true that their is no real insight provided by the videos, much the same as other media. It's not that I can't watch false things on youtube, but it seems a waste of time. Additionally it is very depressing to know that many people (based on the comments) are in agreement with things like "chem trails", Alex Jones, and other clearly insane things. They clearly do not live in reality. On the other hand it is also clear that the established media does similar things in steering people toward their own point of view as well. And while they may not be as outlandish, they can be just as damaging. For instance, the Times is clearly anti-progressive and hope to steer people toward moderates who are less likely to adjust the balance of wealth in this country. That is, they are supporters of corporations and the out sized influence of corporations in our politics. It is the same with MSNBC which seems to cater to liberals but has a very corporate friendly view of the world.

  73. I have experienced YouTube's bias against liberal-minded content, when they demonetize sites I have routinely enjoyed, for quite a long time, now. And, it's becoming more and more obvious. If this continues, and my favorite sites disappear, I will stop using YouTube. Congress may need to investigate them, as if they are a monopoly, killing public discourse, and affecting vulnerable minds. They should also stop using far-right ads (like Pager U--Yuk!) just prior to broadcasting liberal content. That seems more like Russian or White Nationalist trolling, being purposely done by YouTube. And, that really sets me off. Who ever said that Tech was Liberal-oriented? Doesn't seem that way to me.

  74. I don't believe that it can be said that YouTube unwittingly helps spread conspiracy theories. That may have been true at one time but they've known about the harm they're causing for years. Remember the quaint "Don't be evil" days of Google? Well, the company is now called Alphabet and they are among the most evil on the planet, right up there with Facebook.

  75. I find it amazing that Liberal media still, even as of today, doesn't run stories with headlines that use the word ILLEGAL when reporting on Immigrants being arrested and detained. This is what gained my interest in finding different sources of news as a registered Democrat since 1982. Conservative Youtube channels pointed this out and as a result I began noticing this myself in liberal media spin. Maybe this is why so many of the public are going to conservative Youtube channels now for information. And maybe this is why there is such an obvious pushback to silence those who call out Liberal propaganda Not using the word ILLEGAL when reporting on undocumented immigrants being arrested creates a huge narrative that is entirely false. There are several rational and factual Conservative channels that allow Liberal media to conveniently (and appropriately) look like buffoons as they report the same facts about current events of any kind, then add obvious propaganda to support Democrat spin in politics. These conservative channels merely report the facts and Liberal media creates their own lack of popularity by creating narratives that backfire on themselves.. Banning Conservative Youtube channels only creates more movement away from Liberal views, especially those liberals like myself, who are more in the center of both parties. Clean up your act.

  76. Surprise. The filter bubble exists and Google has you stuck in your own echo chamber, serving up content to get clicks and dynamically changing search results per user. Hence why every google search leads you to information validating your own viewpoint. It is dangerous and you can see how it reaffirms everyone's views they are correct. That is why it is important to go to impartial search engines and research. You may get mad being challenged but at least the information is there (Plus Google delists sites, too, aka a heavy-hand).

  77. Let YOUTUBE alone! I can watch most anytime imaginable on this wonderful service to include new appliance how to information. I don’t watch the sad comedians ever since Jay Leno retired, and instead tune in to YOUTUBE for food recipes, how it works, military clips, car repair, Etc. Wonderful service. Let it alone!

  78. What do others search for that they get such a rabbit hole. The algorithm seems to give us foodie shows, comedies and TED/science programming.

  79. That algorithm is bad enough, and in addition they are not choosy about their actual ads. Just saw one pushing an Epstein conspiracy with intentionally misleading information.

  80. A little understanding might help, all content published to a site like youtube is classified using AI (machine learning). This classification runs on billions of videos and extracts out latent features, features which humans cannot even detect and clusters together similar videos based on these features. So if a viewer views one video, it can recommend the rest based on its algorithms. This is what adds quality to our lives in most cases. These algorithms can't distinguish between facts and fiction all they can say is if the content is similar. If a platform like youtube were made to fact check each posting, it would end it as a source of billions of videos.

  81. I don't know what Youtube's doing exactly, but I've never had to select "not interested" in watching a video on my homepage before. Now I select it two or three times a session for all videos. Event videos I've previously watched are showing up again, so something has changed.

  82. Thank you for this reporting. It's frightening -- not only for the algorithms that are leading gullible people to horrible politics, but also to decisions (Zika vaccine) that are affecting their children's lives.

  83. Surely society can't hold Google responsible for deploying algorithms that promote dangerous, often violent, rabbit hole, right-wing, radical extremism just because Google's goal is to maximize profits at any cost. I mean they don't MAKE the videos promulgating hatred and intolerance, they just provide a platform for their release and hugely monetize them. And for those who question how prudent it is for a company to make money off the spread of hateful ideologies, I must remind folks that every company has something bad in it. For example, my last company rarely had gluten free options on Bagel Mondays. Now, lets say Google did harbor some responsibility for spreading hatred and intolerance, how can we possibly expect Google to fix their algorithm code just because they came up with? Fixing stuff is really hard! To do that would require reallocating resources and talent currently staffed to maximize profits and refocus those resources and talent to a new goal of preventing the spread of radical ideologies. It's not like Google is made out of money.

  84. The so-called 'what you like' programs run a faulty algorithm on YouTube and Netflix. If you watch one minute of a show, it is suddenly a 97% match. If you watch all of a series, you are told to watch it again and again. If you watch only one theme, e.g., thrillers, you get thrillers from around the world, not often in English or properly dubbed, plus teen series, drama, vampires. It is a matter of licensing fees for studio backlists (no longer an issue since the studios failed in battling video streaming and were bought up by video streaming cos.), international licensing fees (e.g., one can forage the fringes of Cannes and pick-up anything for almost nothing), and co-productions in countries where actors and writers are cheap -- terribly directed, using standard LS, MS, MCU, CU, the same sets and dialogue. But the program will say that you'll love it. (Programs advertised as using AI do not use AI; back in the 1960s, LISP was a wonderfully intuitive set of modules based on research into neural nets).

  85. As a NYT reader for quite a while, I've noticed a surge in angry comments that sound pretty right wing on articles of varying subjects, and this column's comments also gave me that vibe. It's not that a different perspective is bad, it just seems to fit in with the idea that trolls and misinformation campaigns have made their way into this channel, and probably all online media sources at this point, which just cannot bode well for us as a society.

  86. It is all wide open now. Television news, back when there was three networks, had a bias against conservative views. The forth option was PBS, who relegated "Fire Line" to the wee hours. "All Things Considered" still has a liberal agenda, but the rest of the playing field has been more homogenized much to the bane of the Left. The genie was let out of the bottle with the advent of movable type and no longer relying on monks transcribing the churches point of view.

  87. Just as an algorithm can be problematic, criticism of an algorithm (in effect, a new proposed algorithm) can also be problematic. For example, I could accuse YouTube of censoring people to put forward a leftist agenda that suits their workers and executives, wealthy people in California. And I could try to assert that I alone should be the designer of the algorithm, just because I was able to formulate a complaint. This of course would be no better. Military and religious leaders also have opinions about the algorithm. A set of rules and benchmarks should be standardized to evaluate bias and the effect of bias where it exists. The algorithm should have a full disclosure sheet. And it will. We are just behind.

  88. This is news? The internet is designed -- even if not intentionally -- to promulgate "democratic reality": everyone's opinion is equally valid (alternative facts), there is effectively no vetting, and there is no economic incentive to correct errors or lies. As well, the (anti-)social media aspect allows people to gain a following, aggregating the credible into a self-reinforcing cohort. Twitter lynchings, Facebook shamings, Times soap operas (e.g. endless, disproportionate Epstein coverage), it's all of a piece. But the fault is not the snake oil hustlers, it's that of the people who buy the snake oil. 'twas always thus. The human brain evolved to deal with simplicity and the immediate: where will my next meal come from, is that rustling the wind or an animal or other person trying to harm my family. Those who play into that dynamic are guaranteed a receptive audience, bumperstickers being much more readily acceptable than a convoluted, tentative explanation of uncertainty. No, this is not news, except to those who have bought into the idea all along that the internet is inherently a tool of unquestioned progress.

  89. I try to watch videos from a range of sources, not just Youtube. Youtube tries to steer the videos based on what I watched before, often times pushing it towards extreme left contents as I continue to watch more and more. Afterwards, I get so fed up with recommendations from Youtube that I go into my account history and clear all my view history so they stop. Sometimes I watch Youku or do Baidu searches just to see what the opposite side of the world says about the same topics. There are old sayings like "there are multiple sides to every story", "there are truth to every lie", and "your enemy knows you best." This is especially true for any international media contents, which tends to be all negative if you follow North America outlets.

  90. YouTube's efforts on me are often comical as I choose to "like" ads and watch videos that scramble their demographic and psychographic profiling algorithms. However, it scares me how effective these techniques must be in recruiting countless others who are far less cognizant and more impressionable. Or simply do not have the sense of humor or patience to walk the AI down a garden path. Despite my efforts, I grow tired of social media overtly and persistently nudging me towards toxic personalities and ideologies that seek to poison my mind. I long for the good old days of irrelevant furniture, automobile and fast food ads attempting to nudge me into buying things I do not need and/or are simply bad for my health. Ah, the good old days.

  91. I've watched several extreme right-wing videos because I want to see what they're like. I find them often fascinating -- and always repulsive. Users aren't led to videos unless they're willing to be.

  92. “...Critics say the platform’s recommendation tool boosts extremism and conspiracies... Said another way, it boosts what’s different and intriguing... And – as Google always has, since the inception of monetized search – what’s trending... Redistribution and socialism are no longer any of those things... But – Trump??? Hey, you never know what the Big Guy’s going to say or tweet next... Would like to see a whole lexicon of presidential emojis... The current presidential seal, on the periphery – to let you know it’s real... But – in the center – anything goes... “That’s Hot”... “You’re Fired”... For starters – in emoji-face, of course...

  93. I don't get it. Everybody has control over YouTube’s “rabbit-hole”. Just turn off or disable "cookies" in your browser so the YouTube algorithm hasn't got anything about your browsing history to build "personalized" recommendations. It's simple and it works .... try it. Take control of the technology ... don't let it control you.

  94. YouTube is a rabbit hole indeed but for you to only point out your “alt-right” examples while leaving out Hamas, Isis, Antifa, other extremists groups that also use the site to radicalize is disingenuous and shows bias. It is a cesspool where you can find bomb assembly videos, gun modification videos, poisoning recipes, the list goes on and on. This piece could have been a deep dive into the perils of the web but instead you chose only one group... Radicalization is a serious issue in many areas and should be addressed broadly.

  95. This explains how all those crackpot right wing videos, that I would never watch in a million years, appear on the sidebar.

  96. YouTube, like Facebook is mostly a garbage dump of videos. Sort through it carefully. I use it mostly for non-hate music and tutorials such as tech and how tos. And even then, I triple check if it's something that can cause costly mistakes. I would like to ask the NY Times to remove the Facebook Likes button from its pages.

  97. When "confirmation bias" is exploited by A.I. algorithm, it's like spraying gasoline on a flame, the combustible is hard to shut off. The darker nature of human beings, selfishness, greed, delusion, paranoid, fear, etc can be easily provoked under the guise of fighting injustice and safety alert. Many self-declared injustice fighters have no idea what they are doing, or they are being used. While YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc are only tools to fan the flame, they are powerful catalyst. The basic stupidity of people does not help. Everyone is already biased from birth. Brainwashing follows: by parents, family, religious people, schools, teachers, peer groups and later the media, internet channels, sales & marketing, establishments, society itself. Teaching critical thinking is difficult. Paradigm shift after one is brainwashed extremely difficult. Scientific approach is a better though not perfect method: look at facts & evidence, don't be trapped by theories, dogma & beliefs. Easier said than done. Many holy cows, beliefs and dogma stand in the way of seeing reality. Universal suffrage democracy & the belief in absolute freedom of speech & press are just some of the holy cows. Look at Brazil in this case. China knows VPN can't be stopped, but at least their Great Firewall shut off most dangerous propaganda tools like YouTube & Facebook from reaching a larger population. Kudos to their foresight. Ultimate judge: basic ethics and morality teaching, the Golden Rule.

  98. Would this be useful as a podcast for those subscribers who don't tv?