YouTube Promises to Recommend Less Videos With Misleading Titles and Descriptions
YouTube is a massive timesink, and it is common for people (myself included) to spend several hours on it daily. Now, I’m not going to reminisce about how the ‘old’ YouTube was better, but of late, some of the recommended videos are flat out garbage. Considering the sheer number of videos on the platform, sorting through them to provide a customised set of recommendations for each user poses is a challenge. Clickbait videos always find their way into the recommended feed no matter how hard one tries to avoid them.
YouTube responded by updating their system to focus on viewer satisfaction. The platform measured several parameters including measuring likes, dislikes, surveys, and time well spent, instead of just the view count. YouTube also claims to have made hundreds of changes to improve the quality of recommendations for users. Although the number of clickbait videos went down, a lot of people complained that the recommendations got too repetitive. According to their blog post:
When recommendations are at their best, they help users find a new song to fall in love with, discover their next favorite creator, or learn that great paella recipe. That’s why we update our recommendations system all the time—we want to make sure we’re suggesting videos that people actually want to watch.
YouTube says it’s working on improving recommendations to get rid of content that doesn’t technically violate YouTube policies but is still offensive or irresponsible. YouTube is targeting this so-called “borderline” content which includes “videos promoting a phoney miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat or making blatantly false claims about historical events like 9/11.” YouTube says it plans to clean up recommendations with the help of machine learning and real human evaluators.
YouTube says that the changes will affect ‘less than one per cent’ of the content on YouTube. Furthermore, the changes will only affect recommendations of what videos to watch. You can still view your favourite space lizard conspiracy theory videos, as long as they comply with YouTube’s Community Guidelines. For now, the changes will only affect recommendations of a minimal set of videos in the United States. YouTube plans to roll the new recommendations out globally as its systems get smarter.