YouTube’s Plan to Stop Recommending Conspiracy Theory Videos Is Actually Working

The YouTube algorithm is responsible for many a video-viewing rabbit hole – one that critics have pointed to as an effective digital megaphone for spreading wonky conspiracy theories. In January 2019, however, YouTube announced it would begin cracking down on “borderline content” in its recommendations. Well, a new study suggests that YouTube’s efforts have actually yielded some fruit. According to the study, conspiracy theories are now 40 per cent less likely to pop up in your recommendations than they were before YouTube cracked down. Read More >>

YouTube Aims to Match Advertisers with “Edgier” Content

YouTube’s experimenting with matching subject-appropriate advertising with YouTubers whose videos may not fit the bill of “family friendly content” according to the platform’s moderation policies. Read More >>

YouTube Says It Messed Up Removing Robot Fight Videos Under Rules Prohibiting Animal Cruelty

Google subsidiary YouTube has admitted that it made a mistake when, citing its policies against “deliberate infliction of animal suffering” such as “dog fighting and cock fighting,” it removed several videos of robots fighting, per reports in Motherboard and the Verge. The videos are again available. Read More >>

YouTube’s Moderators Say It’s Not Your Imagination: Popular Creators Do Get Away With More

Content creators have a lot of complaints about YouTube, but one you’ll hear most often is how the platform seems to give its high-profile accounts more leniency when it comes to content moderation. But there’s a simple explanation for this: that’s because it does, according to nearly a dozen YouTube moderators interviewed in a Washington Post [paywall] report released on Friday. Read More >>

Guy Who Built Twitter’s Retweet Button Admits Maybe That Was a Really Bad Idea

The man behind Twitter’s “Retweet” button – which is pretty much the foundation of the whole site – now thinks he screwed up big time, telling BuzzFeed News in an interview that he recalled thinking, “We might have just handed a 4-year-old a loaded weapon.” Read More >>

The Life of a Facebook Moderator Sounds Even Worse Than You Imagined

For years, reports have emerged detailing the toll moderating online content takes on those tasked with cleaning up the websites of the most powerful tech companies. Facebook announced in May that it would make some changes so that a chunk of this moderator workforce (though not all of it) would be paid a little more and given a little extra care, but a damning new report indicates that these piecemeal changes are mere band-aids for what’s described as a severely distressing work environment. Read More >>

Twitch Sues to Identify People Who Uploaded Christchurch Shooting Video

The popular livestream website Twitch is suing anonymous users to find out the identities of 100 people who recently violated its terms of service by uploading content including the deadly Christchurch terrorist shooting and hardcore pornography. Read More >>

YouTube Basically Admits Algorithms Aren’t Such Good Babysitters After All

In its latest attempt to please anxious parents, YouTube is finally offering an option to (slightly) favour human moderators over algorithms in its app for kids. The YouTube Kids app now lets parents limit the selection of channels kids can watch to those that are human-curated. Along with some other changes, this should make it less likely that junior sees a video of Peppa the Pig drinking bleach during screen time. Read More >>

YouTube Kids Will Finally Offer a Mode Where Actual Humans Actually Bother to Vet the Videos

After months of harsh coverage of the malicious or inappropriate content that keeps popping up on YouTube Kids, ranging from videos of Peppa Pig drinking bleach to David Icke conspiracy rants, Google seems to have partially conceded and is planning on rolling out a human-curated version of the app. Read More >>

Giphy Is Back on Instagram and Snapchat After Claiming to Have Solved Its Racist Sticker Problem

Gif-sharing service Giphy is back on Snapchat after an incident last month involving an extremely goddamn racist gif that slipped past moderation filters, according to the Verge. Read More >>

The Horrifying Job of Facebook Content Moderators

Isn't Facebook great? (It's not.) But isn't it nice and clean and kid friendly? This is true for a very specific reason: the social media giant outsources the gnarly task of finding and deleting inappropriate content. In the November issue of Wired, Adrian Chen offers a peek into the darkest corners of the industry. It's only a little horrifying. Read More >>