Video network YouTube responded to critics who have long called on the Google company to clean up its recommendation engine and not offer conspiracy videos in suggested plays.
In a blog post posted Friday, YouTube said it will begin to reduce recommending “borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways – such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat or making blatantly false claims about historical events like 9/11.”
The most high-profile conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, was banned by YouTube in 2018, along with Apple, Stitcher, Facebook and others over concerns about his content, including videos that questioned whether the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 were real.
So, if YouTube viewers were searching for news accounts of an event like Sandy Hook, they could have seen InfoWars pop up after a string of videos from CBS, ABC and the like. The YouTube algorithm picks videos based on your viewing and searches histories in an auto play mode, with suggestions for others videos to watch as well.
This isn’t the first time YouTube has tried to take the conspiracy video problem. In March 2018, it said it would put links to Wikipedia about events in text-boxes around “widely accepted events, like the (1969) moon landing.”