New Scientist magazine has named YouTube a garbage fire that is best shut down for the public good. It claims that Google, which owns YouTube, is using special algorithms to get viewers hooked on YouTube, allowing Google to rake in more money for ads:
It is working hard to sculpt its users into the ideal audience for video adverts. And the ideal audience is one that can’t look away. Ever.
I don’t know why NS is upset about this situation. Regular TV has been doing this for decades. Big studios spend millions of dollars on huge departments whose job it is to keep you glued to that chair in front of your TV.
NS claims that the random selection/suggestion of YouTube videos expose viewers to ever more extreme content. That may be true but it is the user who must click on the thumbnail to view the video. Sure, some people can get lost in a rabbit hole by following the suggested videos but using common sense will prevent this from happening to you.
NS is portraying viewers as hapless victims, unable to withstand the lure of click bait videos or extreme content, thus repeating the lament du jour: we are all victims and the Big Bad Tech Companies are making us do things we don’t want to. Google is mean and robbing me of my safe space.
Your freedom is just a mouse click away. Close that window if you think Google is manipulating you. Shut down your Komputer and settle down in front of your TV and binge-watch the latest, highest rated (by Rotten Tomatoes) TV show instead. Or play with your smartphone, or your tablet, or your video game, or your digital camera, or your web-aware microwave oven, or your digital pet/spouse/sex doll/pizza/garden hose/fridge/watch/shower or whatever gadget is lit/dope/in/hot at that particular moment. Just make sure your alternate activity includes interacting with electronic gadgets and precludes interacting with real humans in real time and in real physical space. That’ll show Google who’s boss.
Or read a book. Oh, wait, I have a Kindle for that.