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YouTube’s autoplay function can pull users down the internet rabbit hole for hours on end. But a constant stream of autoplay videos can cost users more than a few hours of lost time. As we watch videos, YouTube’s algorithms work to generate video recommendations, and autoplay plays those recommendations in a steady stream.
Recommended videos that appear on our feed are derived from algorithms that are highly targeted to specific users and optimized to make sure highly engaging content is up next. But what’s next isn’t always what’s welcome. In Mozilla’s #YouTube Regrets project, users said the platform often directed them to extreme content that was very different from what they originally searched for.
Here are a few examples from Mozilla:
“I’m a teacher and I watched serious documentaries about Apollo 11. But YouTube’s recommendations are now full of videos about conspiracy theories: about 9/11, Hitler’s escape, alien seekers and anti-American propaganda.”
“Any search for positive LGBT content results in a barrage of homophobic, right-wing recommendations. I can only imagine how harmful this would be to people still figuring out their identity.”
Turning off YouTube’s autoplay allows users to actively select the videos they want to watch and helps them to avoid videos that may be harmful, extreme or simply irrelevant.
How to turn off autoplay on a computer:
How to turn off autoplay on the YouTube app:
18 November 2019
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