15 February 2023

Avoiding Bots on YouTube

For some folks, these comments will probably seem so obvious or naive as to be laughable, but there's a point. I ended my account on Facebook because I found that their algorithm actually causes dissension and pointless argument, and I lacked the energy or inclination to constantly monitor my reaction to things and edit what I read and responded to critically in real time. It became exhausting and the utility of the platform came to seem less and less worth it. 

YouTube, I contend, is different. I never use comments to argue with anyone, and I use "don't recommend" to filter out propaganda, so I don't see nearly as much of it. Plus there is really, really good and informative content on YouTube, which you can set it up so that it shows you that, and not a bunch of trivial or propagandistic nonsense, most of the time. An example: I am interested in the EV revolution, so when I saw a video from a channel called Tech Revolution that seemed to be touting the imminent introduction into North America of Chinese EVs from BYD, X Peng, Nio, and Ora, I watched with avid interest even though I was under the impression from other sources that none of these companies have plans to sell EVs in the US anytime soon. So I subscribed and liked, but I checked other sources and none of this seemed to be true. So I went back and looked. Turns out Tech Revolution is a pro-Russia anti-Ukraine troll channel that spreads various forms of disinformation about the Ukraine war, European energy crisis, etc. So I unsubscribed and clicked "don't recommend this channel." 

It's easier to cross check and eliminate bad content on YouTube than other social media platforms. And the architecture of the site makes it more difficult for it to be used as a mode of propaganda by bad actors. You do have to consciously avoid the "rabbit hole" tendency that all autobot algorithms will devolve into if you let them; but it is easier and more pleasant to do, I've found. Of course FB and YT are entirely different, but in the end, how and what you spend your internet time on is up to you. 

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