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AI has been touted for being incredibly sophisticated in finding out what we want to see by tracking our online activity. 

Some are looking at the recent revelation, uncovered through research done by free software community Mozilla, that disliking a YouTube video does not keep the algorithm from stopping recommending that disliked content. 

Specifically, disliked content is only reduced by 12 percent. 

Why is this the case? 

Well, there could be more than one possible answer for this. 

YouTube’s Explanation

A YouTube spokesperson said that a danger of making a disliked video be a total banishment of similar content could possibly create an echo chamber. 

This can help prevent going down an infamous YouTube rabbit hole of videos featuring troubling content such as misinformation, hate speech, and the like. 

With a fully obsequious recommendation algorithm, it can be easy to screen out anything that challenges the (mis)information and content in that rabbit hole. 

So, it can be easier for people to feed themselves on whatever they want, and literally screen out whatever contradicts the perspectives of the content they take. 


The Counterargument


Well, critics of YouTube say, shouldn’t users be given significant autonomy in choosing what they do and do not see? 

Certainly, not every instance of a digital “dislike” button-push is not explained by a thirst for misinformation or hateful content. 

For instance, you might not want to see videos of monster truck stunts. They are simply of no interest to you. 

Truly, you would prefer the small boxes of content in YouTube’s home page and post-video arrays contain the things that actually interest you. Things like pumpkin patch hauls and TikTok compilations. 

But, dislike after dislike of those monster truck videos does little to change the problem. 

Now, swap those monster truck videos with things that were truly disturbing to you or most viewers. Imagine what you will do there. 

Wouldn’t you wish that YouTube’s algorithm gave you more than a 12% chance that that disturbing content would disappear from your feed of audiovisual content the next time you pull up YouTube on your phone or computer or television? 


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