YouTube demotes flat-earthers, conspiracy theorists

YouTube will stop recommending videos promoting conspiracy theories such as those contending the 9/11 attacks never took place
YouTube will stop recommending videos promoting conspiracy theories such as those contending the 9/11 attacks never took place

YouTube said Friday it will stop recommending specious videos such as those claiming the earth is flat or promoting bogus theories about the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The global streaming service planned to modify its viewing recommendation system gradually, starting in the United States and later expanding to other countries.

Google-owned YouTube, part of the Alphabet holding, said it is scrutinizing how to reduce the spread of content that comes close to but doesn't quite cross the line of violating its community guidelines.

"To that end, we'll begin reducing recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways," YouTube said in a blog post.

"Such as 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 estimated the change would affect less than one percent of content at the service but would improve the experience for users.

Videos deemed to be just shy of violating community guidelines will remain accessible and come up in , they just won't be suggested as worth watching, according to YouTube.

"We think this change strikes a balance between maintaining a platform for and living up to our responsibility to users," YouTube said.

Both human review and will be used to train the recommendation system on questionable videos, the company said.

YouTube routinely updates features such as it recommendation engine. Several years ago, it modified the system to downplay videos with misleading descriptions intended to bait people into clicking such as "You won't believe what happens next."

"In the last year alone, we've made hundreds of changes to improve the quality of recommendations for users on YouTube," the California-based video group said.


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Jan 26, 2019
The author of Extinction: Bad Luck or Bad Genes may be spinning in his grave. Not that he had any particular faith in particular conspiracy theorists, but he thought that they asked better questions that the orthodoxy and consensus theorists that would rather be expert than questioning.

Jan 26, 2019
O Great! Now even more of the wooloons & buncoartists will gravitate ti the phys,org site.

Oh wait, they don't believe in gravity.
Hmm, the additional weight of lunatics & mountebanks. Added to the already overly-represented EUfrauds, denierbots, pseudo-science-cultists, aetherdolts, godscretins flying-saucer-twits & other anti-science, abti-vaxxers, anti-intellectuals?

All the Internet's vermin will swarm here eager to prove that their stupid is a communicable disease.

All that weight of incompetent ignorance will undoubtedly tilt this flat-earth...
Maybe they'll slide right off?
Perhaps encouraged with a few thunderbolts to their asses?

Well, one can always hope for the best!

Jan 27, 2019
I was worried for free speech, but turns out that "demote" in the title i not happening, it is that the filters are now so intelligent that they won't promote lies.

As it is now, lies spreads faster than facts on social networks because some people likes to promote it. This could be part of the solution, besides that it will make people's life less boring when we don't have to wade through the shit storm and - morally and practically - have to react on it. Now we can have algorithms doing the automatic reaction, which is the level it merits.

Jan 27, 2019
I was worried for free speech, but turns out that "demote" in the title i not happening, it is that the filters are now so intelligent that they won't promote lies.

As it is now, lies spreads faster than facts on social networks because some people likes to promote it. This could be part of the solution, besides that it will make people's life less boring when we don't have to wade through the shit storm and - morally and practically - have to react on it. Now we can have algorithms doing the automatic reaction, which is the level it merits.
It's kinda like email filtering.

Jan 27, 2019
Speaking of wading through the shit storm:

The author of Extinction: Bad Luck or Bad Genes may be spinning in his grave. Not that he had any particular faith in particular conspiracy theorists, but he thought that they asked better questions that the orthodoxy and consensus theorists that would rather be expert than questioning.


That would be the execrable - as statistician - Raup of the Raup and Sepkoski daft theory of mass extinction "cycles" that simple sanity check statistics like auto correlation spectra reveal does not happen (but even physicists like Randall like to think does and promote). I would like to hear less of that garbage, not more!

Since Raup was fighting the consensus - with the scientific equivalent of a conspiracy theory - I can well believe he railed against it,

But for the rest of us he exemplifies why conspiracy theorists does not ask good questions or even new questions. The only problem is that they like to think so.

Jan 27, 2019
Since Raup was fighting the consensus


Which is why Gould, who promoted the equally erroneous (though not so daft, it has tricky statistics) "punctuated equilibrium" model of his own and in the foreword saw Raup's ideas as helping him, characterized Raup as "the perennial Peck's bad boy of paleontology".

Ironically that character seems morally dubious and that the "swaggerer" and "callous brute" "mischievous or bad behavior leads to annoyance or embarrassment". [ https://en.wikipe..._Bad_Boy ]. Like the public image of conspiracy theorists!

Jan 27, 2019
Gould contributed; but I don't think you said otherwise, @torbjorn. And I agree he was a mountebank.

Jan 27, 2019
Oh! Great
Google, Oh almighty one hath spoketh
on to your knees
all YouTube viewers
and haileth
Googleth the greateth one
Google the purveyor of truth
so
to
all
YouTube viewers
all those untruthful videos
Google is piling on the pyres of truth
so on this pyres
free energy videos will burn
elves and fairy videos will burn
magnet motor videos will burn
perpetual motion videos will burn
a whole host of family lying antic videos will burn
any videos containing untruths
that Google has
deemed
in its almighty wisdom will burn
the picture is clear
as
there is hardly any truth on YouTube
Google YouTube
is
going to make the Spartans proud
YouTube will be Spartan
as
YouTube is one almighty fabrication
as Google makes money out of free
lets
see Google make money out of YouTube after Google has removed YouTube's videos
Let's see Google make money out of fresh air

Jan 27, 2019
Automated censorship is a nightmare. I would however support a system where an individual user could block 'flat earth videos' or similar at his own discretion and some aspects within parental control for the youngest. In this manner YouTube would not cross any lines. Deciding what and what is not misinformation, or the idea that adults need to be protected from misinformation (impossible to define), clearly crosses that boundary by miles.

Jan 27, 2019
Now on to the removal of climate change denial video's.

Jan 27, 2019
They'd be accused of political bias if they did that, @V4. That's what they were aiming for.

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