Time to re-litigate our favorite Hot Sauce topic! Are social media platforms media platforms or not? Do they have a journalistic responsibility to the public?
Last week YouTube’s quickly algorithm spread a rumor that Parkland HS shooting survivor David Hogg was an actor hired by democrats. It had 200K views shortly after it’s posting, but has since been taken down.
We have a question for @YouTube.
You have apparently removed one conspiracy theory video that is about David Hogg.
If it breaks your Terms Of Service, why allow Alex Jones and to spread similar, and even worse, conspiracy theories on your platform? https://t.co/s8mRqUoo3h
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) February 21, 2018
Mashable, the source for this post had a very apt understanding of the problem at hand:
YouTube’s job, as it sees it, is to get as many eyeballs on as many videos as possible. It’s as if a media tycoon founded a newspaper, invited every conspiracy theorist to contribute, and blithely waved away the notion that there should be any ethical responsibility to put forth the verifiable truth — because selling ads was all that mattered.
In a recent Guardian study this recent Guardian study out of 643 of partisan videos recommended to people watching politics content in 2016, 551 were conspiracy-based content that favored Trump while 92 favored Clinton. This study also notes that “More than 80% of the YouTube-recommended videos about the pope detected by his program described the Catholic leader as “evil”, “satanic”, or “the anti-Christ”.”
The Guardian tells the story of french programmer Guillaume Chaslot founder of https://algotransparency.org/ who was looking to make changes internally at YouTube in 2013 before he was fired (reportedly for performance reasons, but I’ll leave that up to you.) He believes that the YouTube Algorithm was biased towards Trump because it is biased towards divisiveness and conspiracy (things that shock and awe audiences can get more clicks). You can read his full blog post on the subject here.
Why Its Hot?
Let’s continue the conversation about how AI and algorithms shape the way we live, is there a way we can make them more human instead of human pandering.