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YouTube’s algorithm is still recommending videos that you wish you hadn’t seen, say researchers

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At times, found the report, the algorithm even encourages users to watch videos that violate the website’s content policies.   

Image: bymuratdeniz / Getty Images

YouTube’s algorithm is recommending videos that viewers wish afterwards that they hadn’t seen, according to research carried out by Mozilla. And at times, found the report, the algorithm even encourages users to watch videos that are later found to have violated the website’s content policies. 

Last year, Mozilla launched RegretsReporter, an open-source browser extension that lets users report videos that they were recommended and which they wish they hadn’t ended up watching. 

Artificial Intelligence

When filing a report, users are asked to provide the video’s title, description, view count and entry point (whether by direct search or through recommended content); and they can also provide Mozilla with a “trail” of how they arrived at the reported video. 

SEE: An IT pro’s guide to robotic process automation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Ten months after RegretsReporter launched, 37,380 volunteers have downloaded the extension, who together shared regrets about 3,362 videos. A team of 41 research assistants then went through the reported videos to try and establish links between harmful content and recommendation patterns. 

They found that an overwhelming 71% of ‘regret’ reports came from videos recommended by the algorithm. What’s more: recommended videos were 40% more likely to be reported than videos that had been searched for.  

In almost half of the cases, the content that the algorithm pushed for appeared to be completely unrelated to previous watches. One volunteer, for example, reported being encouraged to watch extreme right-wing channels after looking up wilderness survival videos. 

The algorithm occasionally recommended posts that violate YouTube’s own policies. Up to 200 videos that were reported in the extension have since been removed – but only after amassing a collective 160 million views.  

Back in 2019, Mozilla asked YouTube for details of how the platform’s recommendation algorithm works. But upon asking the social media platform to reveal the model’s details, the organization was met with firm resistance. And despite asking time and time again, Mozilla’s researchers have still been unable to access the inner workings of the technology, which lead to the RegretsReport project.

“YouTube tells us the view count on a video, but not how many times they have recommended that video,” Brandi Geurkink, Mozilla’s senior manager of advocacy, tells ZDNet. “So it’s very difficult to understand the role that the algorithm is playing in the bad experiences that people are having.”  

“This is absolutely where we should be placing concern and emphasis – it’s not only about how much harmful content there is on the platform, but also about taking responsibility for the role that their tools might be playing in amplifying it.” 

Of course, RegretsReporter has its limitations. There is no way of preventing users from actively seeking out harmful videos to skew the data, for example – nor is it possible to claim that a pool of a few tens of thousands of watchers is representative of the platform’s entire userbase. 

“We try to make it really clear that tools like this are not a substitute for transparency from YouTube,” says Geurkink. “What we do is expose some trends that we are seeing that we think are the tip of the iceberg, but being able to really understand how these experiences might be happening at the scale of YouTube would require transparency from YouTube, which is what we think needs to happen.” 

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If anything, argues Geurkink, the flaws in the methodology only highlight the depth of the problem: without appropriate transparency from the platform, researchers must resort to alternative, less reliable methods to try and shed a light on the root cause of the issue. 

SEE: GDPR: Fines increased by 40% last year, and they’re about to get a lot bigger

YouTube, for its part, has acknowledged that the platform’s algorithm needs a fix. The company promised to make amendments and recently launched over 30 different policy changes to reduce recommendations of borderline videos, which it claims have caused an average 70% drop in watch time for this type of content

A YouTube spokesperson told ZDNet: “Over 80 billion pieces of information is used to help inform our systems, including survey responses from viewers on what they want to watch. We constantly work to improve the experience on YouTube and over the past year alone, we’ve launched over 30 different changes to reduce recommendations of harmful content. Thanks to this change, consumption of borderline content that comes from our recommendations is now significantly below 1%.”

According to the platform, user surveys show that in general, watchers are satisfied with YouTube’s recommendations. 

For every 10,000 views on YouTube, found the firm, an average 16 to 18 come from content that violates community guidelines, which is also down 70% compared to the same quarter of 2017, and comes down to larger investments in machine learning.

For Geurkink, that’s not enough. “We’ve pushed them to actually allow for independent verification of those claims,” she says. “I don’t think that we should just take their claims at face value. We’re pushing for auditing of the algorithm, for independent verification of those numbers, and they have not taken any steps to do that.” 

But the tide might be turning. During a US Senate Committee hearing earlier this year, Senator Chris Coons quizzed YouTube at length over the nebulous workings of the platform’s recommendation algorithm; previously, in the UK, MP Yvette Cooper also referred to YouTube specifically when raising the issue before Parliament.  

In other words, public pressure is mounting, and it might be that one day, platforms like YouTube are required to open their algorithms to external scrutiny. At least, that’s what Geurkink and Mozilla are hoping for: the report, while calling once more on YouTube to share more information, also urges governments to enact laws that would mandate AI system transparency. 

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/youtubes-algorithm-is-still-recommending-videos-that-you-wish-you-hadnt-seen-say-researchers/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

HRTech

Google will require vaccines as workers return to the office

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Coronavirus

In the coming weeks, Google will start requiring workers to be vaccinated before coming into the office, the company announced Wednesday. The tech giant is also extending its voluntary work-from-home policy through late October, as the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus spreads. 

The vaccination requirement will roll out across US offices first and then expand to other regions. The implementation of the policy will vary depending on local conditions and regulations, as well as the availability of the vaccine. 

Google’s decision follows similar vaccination requirements by a growing number of government agencies and entities like the Mayo Clinic. 

Google first closed its offices in March 2020 and previously said its employees would work remotely until at least September 2021. After announcing it would adopt a “hybrid workforce model” that asked employees to spend at least some time in the office, Google in May said that it expects around 20 percent of its employees to work from home permanently. 

Some of the company’s campuses have started reopening. Google said it will give employees at least 30 days’ notice before implementing its full return-to-office plans. 

“It’s encouraging to see very high vaccination rates for our Google community in areas where vaccines are widely available,” CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in an email to employees Wednesday. “This is a big reason why we felt comfortable opening some of our offices to employees who wanted to return early.”

Prior and related coverage: 

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-will-require-vaccines-as-workers-return-to-the-office/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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HRTech

Hate Google Chrome on Android? Here’s how to get rid of it

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Dumping Google Chrome on most platforms — Windows, Mac, iOS, and so on — is simply a case of moving your data out of the browser, installing your new browser, and deleting Google Chrome.

But what do you do on Android? It’s built into the operating system, and you can’t just delete it.

Here’s what you do.

Must read: Why you need to urgently update all your iPhones, iPads, and Macs – NOW!

First off, the steps are the same as with any other platform. Get your data out, especially your passwords. You don’t want to lose them, and my suggestion is that you bring them into a password manager.

My current password manager of choice is Bitwarden, although LastPass and 1Password also come highly recommended. But whatever you choose, I suggest you get something you’re comfortable using across all the platforms you use, and it’s worth checking to make sure there’s a browser extension available for the browser you’re switching to.

More details here on how to get your passwords out of Google Chrome.

Now you can download your new browser.

Take your pick. There are lots to choose from.

I’m loving Brave at the moment. It’s not perfect, but it’s very good.

OK, you have your new browser. But you also still have Google Chrome on your Android smartphone, staring at you.

Tempting you back.

What do you do about that?

Well, you can’t remove it, but you can disable it, and that way, it won’t show up in your apps.

Here’s how.

  • Tap on Settings
  • Tap on Apps & notifications
  • Optional: If Chrome is not listed, tap App info or See all apps
  • Tap Chrome, and then tap Disable
  • Confirm that you do indeed want to disable the app

Job done. It’s as good as deleting.

Changed your mind? Simply follow the above instructions to find Chrome and tap Enable.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/hate-google-chrome-on-android-heres-how-to-get-rid-of-it/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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HRTech

Hate Google Chrome on Android? Here’s how to get rid of it

Published

on

Dumping Google Chrome on most platforms — Windows, Mac, iOS, and so on — is simply a case of moving your data out of the browser, installing your new browser, and deleting Google Chrome.

But what do you do on Android? It’s built into the operating system, and you can’t just delete it.

Here’s what you do.

Must read: Why you need to urgently update all your iPhones, iPads, and Macs – NOW!

First off, the steps are the same as with any other platform. Get your data out, especially your passwords. You don’t want to lose them, and my suggestion is that you bring them into a password manager.

My current password manager of choice is Bitwarden, although LastPass and 1Password also come highly recommended. But whatever you choose, I suggest you get something you’re comfortable using across all the platforms you use, and it’s worth checking to make sure there’s a browser extension available for the browser you’re switching to.

More details here on how to get your passwords out of Google Chrome.

Now you can download your new browser.

Take your pick. There are lots to choose from.

I’m loving Brave at the moment. It’s not perfect, but it’s very good.

OK, you have your new browser. But you also still have Google Chrome on your Android smartphone, staring at you.

Tempting you back.

What do you do about that?

Well, you can’t remove it, but you can disable it, and that way, it won’t show up in your apps.

Here’s how.

  • Tap on Settings
  • Tap on Apps & notifications
  • Optional: If Chrome is not listed, tap App info or See all apps
  • Tap Chrome, and then tap Disable
  • Confirm that you do indeed want to disable the app

Job done. It’s as good as deleting.

Changed your mind? Simply follow the above instructions to find Chrome and tap Enable.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/hate-google-chrome-on-android-heres-how-to-get-rid-of-it/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

Continue Reading

HRTech

Hate Google Chrome on Android? Here’s how to get rid of it

Published

on

Dumping Google Chrome on most platforms — Windows, Mac, iOS, and so on — is simply a case of moving your data out of the browser, installing your new browser, and deleting Google Chrome.

But what do you do on Android? It’s built into the operating system, and you can’t just delete it.

Here’s what you do.

Must read: Why you need to urgently update all your iPhones, iPads, and Macs – NOW!

First off, the steps are the same as with any other platform. Get your data out, especially your passwords. You don’t want to lose them, and my suggestion is that you bring them into a password manager.

My current password manager of choice is Bitwarden, although LastPass and 1Password also come highly recommended. But whatever you choose, I suggest you get something you’re comfortable using across all the platforms you use, and it’s worth checking to make sure there’s a browser extension available for the browser you’re switching to.

More details here on how to get your passwords out of Google Chrome.

Now you can download your new browser.

Take your pick. There are lots to choose from.

I’m loving Brave at the moment. It’s not perfect, but it’s very good.

OK, you have your new browser. But you also still have Google Chrome on your Android smartphone, staring at you.

Tempting you back.

What do you do about that?

Well, you can’t remove it, but you can disable it, and that way, it won’t show up in your apps.

Here’s how.

  • Tap on Settings
  • Tap on Apps & notifications
  • Optional: If Chrome is not listed, tap App info or See all apps
  • Tap Chrome, and then tap Disable
  • Confirm that you do indeed want to disable the app

Job done. It’s as good as deleting.

Changed your mind? Simply follow the above instructions to find Chrome and tap Enable.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/hate-google-chrome-on-android-heres-how-to-get-rid-of-it/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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