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Harmful YouTube recommendations can now be reported to Mozilla

Mozilla is seeking users help to fix terrible YouTube recommendations.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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Mozilla has launched a new browser extension that lets users report harmful YouTube videos recommendations that they regret watching.

Called RegretsReporter, it aims to better understand how YouTube’s recommendation algorithm works and its pattern. When a user sends a YouTube regret, the video and recommendations that led a user to it are submitted to Mozilla researchers privately.

“YouTube claims to be fixing this problem, but it’s all happening behind closed doors, without any way for the public to tell if it’s actually working,” Mozilla said in a statement.

To report a video, a user needs to download RegretsReporter and click on the extension icon in the browser bar. The report will ask about the YouTube regret, and seek information about the recommendations that led a user to the video.

It will include questions about kinds of videos recommended, usage pattern that lead to particular videos and how does the YouTube rabbit hole looks like.

Also read | YouTube to auto-block videos violating age restrictions

Mozilla said that despite it giving three recommendations to YouTube last year to help address the problem in a more open and transparent way, the video-streaming platform has not made the changes. It believes that they can use their own data to answer questions about regrettable recommendations and make the process more transparent.

Mozilla has gathered a number of stories from users who reported bizarre recommendations from YouTube. It said that after watching a YouTube video about Vikings, one user was recommended content about white supremacy.

Whereas, another user who watched confidence-building videos by a drag queen was then inundated by clips of homophobic rants. A third user who searched for “fail” videos is now served up grisly footage from fatal accidents.

“The hundreds of responses we received were frightening: Users routinely report being recommended racism, conspiracies, and violence after watching innocuous content,” Ashley Boyd, Mozilla’s vice president of advocacy and engagement said in a statement.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 5:24:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/harmful-youtube-recommendations-can-now-be-reported-to-mozilla/article32644154.ece

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