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Warner’s warning: YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is susceptible to “bad actors”

Warner’s warning: YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is susceptible to “bad actors”
[Photo: pressureUA/iStock]

YouTube may be susceptible to “manipulation by bad actors,” says Virginia Senator Mark Warner, and he’s not talking about Logan Paul.

“Companies like YouTube have immense power and influence in shaping the media and content that users see,” Warner told The Guardian. “I’ve been increasingly concerned that the recommendation engine algorithms behind platforms like YouTube are, at best, intrinsically flawed in optimizing for outrageous, salacious and often fraudulent content.”

He added: “At worst, they can be highly susceptible to gaming and manipulation by bad actors, including foreign intelligence entities.”

Warner, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, issued the warning about YouTube after an investigation by the Guardian found that the Google-owned video platform was “systematically promoting divisive and conspiratorial videos that were damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the months leading up to the 2016 election.”

While the media has taken a close look at the role of Russian manipulation of Facebook and Twitter leading up to the 2016 election, the role of potential bias and manipulation of YouTube’s algorithm has received far less attention.ML