Mozilla is Crowdsourcing Research into (Harmful) YouTube Recommendations [Ashley Boyd @ Mozilla]

YouTube recommendations can be delightful, but they can also be dangerous. The platform has a history of recommending harmful content — from pandemic conspiracies to political disinformation — to its users, even if they’ve previously viewed harmless content.

Indeed, in October 2019, Mozilla published its own research on the topic, revealing that YouTube has recommended harmful videos, including misinformation. Amid a global pandemic and with an election looming in the U.S., the consequences of this problem are real and growing.

Despite the serious consequences, YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is entirely mysterious to its users. What will YouTube be recommending that users in the U.S. watch in the last days before the election? Or in the following days, when the election results may not be clear?

So today, Mozilla is giving YouTube users a way to take action when they are recommended harmful videos. Today we are launching the RegretsReporter extension: A browser extension to crowdsource research into YouTube’s recommendation problem.

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