YouTube to push fewer conspiracy theory videos in United States
YouTube has recently announced that they will be pushing fewer conspiracy theory videos in your recommended box. The announcement comes in the form of a test that will only affect United States users.
In an effort to get rid of “borderline content,” the Do-It-Yourself streaming site will try to recommend videos involving conspiracy theories less often. According to the Verge, YouTube says that these videos spread misinformation and often rope viewers into extremist behaviors.
“We’ll begin reducing recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways — like 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 says in a statement.
While conspiracy theory videos do not typically violate the website’s community guidelines, they do oftentimes come close.
According to the Verge, YouTube’s recommendation engine will autoplay new videos that have higher engagement. Because users are more likely to engage with ridiculous, “clickable” theories, “extremist” videos are played frequently.
If the test goes accordingly, the website will continue to enforce their new engine policy.
However, there is one loophole to avoid conspiracy censorship — by subscribing to the content creators. That said, YouTube says that channels you subscribe to will still appear in your recommended videos.
“YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, but we need to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous,” YouTube says. “We’ve updated our external guidelines to make it clear that we prohibit challenges presenting a risk of serious danger or death, and pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger, or cause children to experience severe emotional distress.”
What do you think about YouTube’s latest effort to bury “borderline content?” Sound off in the comments below.