📑 YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant

Annotated YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)
A 2015 clip about vaccination from iHealthTube.com, a “natural health” YouTube channel, is one of the videos that now sports a small gray box.  

Does this box appear on the video itself? Apparently not…

Examples:

But nothing on the embedded versions:

A screengrab of what this looks like for those that don’t want to be “infected” by the algorithmic act of visiting these YouTube pages:
YouTube video on vaccinations with a gray block below it giving a link to some factual information on Wikipedia

📑 YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant

Annotated YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)
“The primary goal of our recommendation systems today is to create a trusted and positive experience for our users,” the document reads. “The YouTube company-wide goal is framed not just as ‘Growth’, but as ‘Responsible Growth.’”  

A great example here of how people may have positive intentions (or at least their PR group says so), yet in the end they are doing anything but…

📑 YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant

Annotated YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)
The idea was to reward video stars shorted by the system, such as those making sex education and music videos, which marquee advertisers found too risqué to endorse.  

This is an interesting concept. Too often, too many people are “shorted by the system”.

📑 YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant

Annotated YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)
At that time, YouTube’s management was focused on a very different crisis. Its “creators,” the droves that upload videos to the site, were upset.  

I see crisis and creators close to each other in the text here and can’t help but think about the neologism “crisis creators” as the thing we should be talking about instead of “crisis actors”, a word that seems to have been created by exactly those “crisis creators”!

📑 YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant

Annotated YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)
YouTube doesn’t give an exact recipe for virality. But in the race to one billion hours, a formula emerged: Outrage equals attention.  

Talk radio has had this formula for years and they’ve almost had to use it to drive any listenership as people left radio for television and other media.

I can still remember the different “loudness” level of talk between Bill O’Reilly’s primetime show on Fox News and the louder level on his radio show.

📑 YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant

Annotated YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)
When Wojcicki took over, in 2014, YouTube was a third of the way to the goal, she recalled in investor John Doerr’s 2018 book Measure What Matters.“They thought it would break the internet! But it seemed to me that such a clear and measurable objective would energize people, and I cheered them on,” Wojcicki told Doerr. “The billion hours of daily watch time gave our tech people a North Star.” By October, 2016, YouTube hit its goal.  

Obviously they took the easy route. You may need to measure what matters, but getting to that goal by any means necessary or using indefensible shortcuts is the fallacy here. They could have had that North Star, but it’s the means they used by which to reach it that were wrong.

This is another great example of tech ignoring basic ethics to get to a monetary goal. (Another good one is Marc Zuckerberg’s “connecting people” mantra when what he should be is “connecting people for good” or “creating positive connections”.

📑 YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant

Annotated YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)
Somewhere along the last decade, he added, YouTube prioritized chasing profits over the safety of its users. “We may have been hemorrhaging money,” he said. “But at least dogs riding skateboards never killed anyone.”  

📑 YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant

Annotated YouTube Executives Ignored Warnings, Letting Toxic Videos Run Rampant by Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)
The conundrum isn’t just that videos questioning the moon landing or the efficacy of vaccines are on YouTube. The massive “library,” generated by users with little editorial oversight, is bound to have untrue nonsense. Instead, YouTube’s problem is that it allows the nonsense to flourish. And, in some cases, through its powerful artificial intelligence system, it even provides the fuel that lets it spread.  

This is a great summation of the issue.

📑 Fish | Wikipedia

Annotated Fish (Wikipedia)
Early Christians used the ichthys, a symbol of a fish, to represent Jesus, because the Greek word for fish, ΙΧΘΥΣ Ichthys, could be used as an acronym for "Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ" (Iesous Christos, Theou Huios, Soter), meaning "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour".  

A fact that I suspect that few Christians know. I wonder if the “Darwin fish” has a similar acronymization?

📑 Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (my reading notes) | Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD

Annotated Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (my reading notes) by Raul Pacheco-VegaRaul Pacheco-Vega (raulpacheco.org)
While I would say that Alexander L. George and Andrew Bennett’s book “Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences“, is neither a new book nor an old one (it was published in 2004), it is definitely a classic and a must-read. Moreover, I’m a comparativist, and someone who undertakes systematic case study comparisons, so George and Bennett’s book is definitely my go-to when I want to revise my research strategy.   

📑 Context challenges between #indieweb and social media silos | David John Mead

Annotated Context challenges between and social media silos by David MeadDavid Mead (David John Mead)

On my blog it has context. You can see all the other eat/drink posts on thier own or mixed in with everything else. I can include links to the place where I bought it, who makes it, or related posts.Instagram's context is its a photo with an optional description. It doesn't matter what it's of. It won't contain links to anything.  

📑 ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | John Naughton | The Guardian

Annotated 'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism by John NaughtonJohn Naughton (the Guardian)
For example, the idea of “data ownership” is often championed as a solution. But what is the point of owning data that should not exist in the first place? All that does is further institutionalise and legitimate data capture. It’s like negotiating how many hours a day a seven-year-old should be allowed to work, rather than contesting the fundamental legitimacy of child labour. Data ownership also fails to reckon with the realities of behavioural surplus. Surveillance capitalists extract predictive value from the exclamation points in your post, not merely the content of what you write, or from how you walk and not merely where you walk. Users might get “ownership” of the data that they give to surveillance capitalists in the first place, but they will not get ownership of the surplus or the predictions gleaned from it – not without new legal concepts built on an understanding of these operations.  

📑 ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | John Naughton | The Guardian

Annotated 'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism by John NaughtonJohn Naughton (the Guardian)
It is no longer enough to automate information flows about us; the goal now is to automate us. These processes are meticulously designed to produce ignorance by circumventing individual awareness and thus eliminate any possibility of self-determination. As one data scientist explained to me, “We can engineer the context around a particular behaviour and force change that way… We are learning how to write the music, and then we let the music make them dance.”  

📑 ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | John Naughton | The Guardian

Annotated 'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism by John NaughtonJohn Naughton (the Guardian)

We saw the experimental development of this new “means of behavioural modification” in Facebook’s contagion experiments and the Google-incubated augmented reality game Pokémon Go.