YouTube has long been criticized for the lack of transparency of the recommendation algorithm. Some researchers criticize that the service’s suggestion algorithm can sometimes highlight conspiracy theories, which can affect young users. While YouTube promises to make corrections to this issue, some critical eyes, such as Mozilla, point out that it is not able to control the alleged fixes.
Mozilla, who preferred to take action instead of doing nothing about this, has implemented a new project. Mozilla’s newest add-on allows YouTube users to “donate” their suggestions to understand YouTube’s algorithm.
It is possible to access the add-on named “RegretsReporter” in Chrome as well as Firefox. Thanks to this plugin, video recommendations offered to YouTube users will be shared anonymously with experts for review.
According to the information provided by Ashley Boyd, Mozilla’s vice president of defense; As the plugin users spend time on YouTube, the plugin will share the time spent on the platform without tracking or search information. The users will be asked to share the problematic suggestions they encountered and what kind of content these suggestions came after them. Boyd also stated that the collected data will be shared in anonymized form with experts outside of Mozilla. Thus, the likelihood of users’ identities being revealed will be minimized.
Mozilla had previously made other attempts to review YouTube and its algorithm. The previous project claimed to show YouTube’s “suggestion balloons”. Mozilla shared its ideas on possible changes to YouTube’s suggestion algorithm, as well as directly submitting it to Google.