YouTube provided no evidence for its assertion that hosting and promoting 2020 election lies would not “meaningfully” increase the risk of harm. It seems curious, given the events of January 6, the ongoing threats to election workers, and the fact that about half of Americans didn’t think votes in the the midterm elections would be counted properly.
aka: this profitable, engaged audience segment is only profitable if you can feed them engaging monetized content. Eroding democracy and encouraging political violence are externalities.
Great look at a type of comment that the systems aren’t designed for but people want to make.
"Over 70% of the videos flagged by respondents came through YouTube's suggestion algorithm — an effect that's impossible to study because the algorithm is a closely-guarded secret at Google.
That means YouTube users aren't primarily finding misinformation through search, but through YouTube feeding users those videos."
Hosting disinformation is bad enough, but actively recruiting people—at scale—is awful.
"Seven out of 50 video clusters the researchers identified are deemed 'situational' music. This designation doesn't operate under the standard concept of genres but rather the context in which the music takes place. This includes relaxation music like 'Ambient/Chillout,' 'Sounds of Nature,' and the ASMR-affiliated 'Hair Dryer Sound.' The paper concludes that situational music, sometimes deemed trivial by musicologists, is growing in popularity."
One great aspect of the Internet is that old (or new!) niche media can find its audience. This ambient music is my jam, glad I found it. [via waxy via mefi]
"The new rules, an expansion of YouTube’s existing hate and harassment policies, will prohibit content that “threatens or harrasses someone by suggesting they are complicit in one of these harmful conspiracies, such as QAnon or Pizzagate,” the post read."
Never too late to do the right thing. I do wish services had consequences for spreading so much misinformation and harassment for years.
"I feel like these videos are a very good way for me to get out this thing within me that likes things that feel like a magic trick: You’re not expecting this thing to happen, so when it does, it’s a little rush of dopamine."
One of the best Internet traditions. Thanks for all the dopamine, Demi!
"Theirtube is a Youtube filter bubble simulator that provides a look into how videos are recommended on other people's YouTube. Users can experience how the YouTube home page would look for six different personas."
What if the YouTube I see is not the YouTube you see? This is a good demonstration of how personalized recommendations work.
"Just last year, the Court held that 'merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints,'" writes McKeown.
This ruling confirms again that the big platforms are private companies, not part of the government. The idea of First Amendment rights do not apply at YouTube, Facebook, etc. This is confusing for many people and the platforms themselves benefit from this confusion and deepen it with their marketing language. This case touched on that:
"YouTube’s braggadocio about its commitment to free speech constitutes opinions that are not subject to the Lanham Act," writes McKeown. "Lofty but vague statements like 'everyone deserves to have a voice, and that the world is a better place when we listen, share and build community through our stories' ... are classic, non-actionable opinions or puffery."
When platforms host garbage they often use the idea of free speech as a shield from criticism. This ruling weakens that shield.