I contacted Franchi to see who was right. Following the US presidential election, Google search surfaced a WordPress site rife with inaccuracies about the final election numbers and after the Las Vegas shooting last October, it promoted a 4chan thread spreading misinformation about the massacre. Yet one stone has so far been largely unturned. Lewd and violent videos have been algorithmically served up to toddlers watching YouTube Kids, a dedicated app for children. In discussions of the ongoing battle over fake news, we often hear Facebook and Google criticized for playing a hand in spreading false information. I had cleared my history, deleted my cookies, and opened a private browser to be sure YouTube was not personalising recommendations.
We are working to improve our systems moving forward.
YouTube's trending section shows it has a fake news problem, too
I was curious where they might lead. As soon as we became aware of the video, we removed it from Trending and from YouTube for violating our policies. Though it deleted the offending video, there are plenty more out there still claiming David Hogg is an actor -- which is also currently a problem on Facebook as well. The experience led him to conclude that the priorities YouTube gives its algorithms are dangerously skewed. The next day, I watched a copy of the video on YouTube. He insists he was let go after agitating for change within the company, using his personal time to team up with like-minded engineers to propose changes that could diversify the content people see. Last month, it also announced that it would start doing more to prevent fake news from seeping into its snippets.