YouTube has changed its search algorithm in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas after conspiracy theory videos surfaced in searches alongside media from more mainstream sources.
Following the incident on October 1st which saw 58 victims killed and nearly 500 more injured, videos burst onto the platform which charged police officers and officials with deceiving the public. Google and YouTube came under fire for ‘promoting’ the videos, such as through the ‘Up next’ functionality that suggests a similar video for the viewer to watch next.
YouTube Alters Search Algorithm
The company has since acknowledged that its search and ‘Up next’ function have issues, and claims that the company is working to resolve them.
Brandon Wall, a Curation Editor for BuzzFeed News, accosted both organisations for their slow response in a tweet on October 3rd. He said: “As a reader just pointed out, it’s been two days and the third YouTube result for ‘las vegas shooting’ is a false flag video with a million+ views.”
As a reader just pointed out, it’s been two days and the third YouTube result for “las vegas shooting” is a false flag video with a million+ views. pic.twitter.com/26cFmHIC0T
— Brandon Wall (@Walldo) October 4, 2017
But the move has led to concerns surrounding censorship. One user on tech news website Slashdot complained in the site’s forum that Google was deliberately censoring speech that it ‘can’t control’. In response, another user debated that no longer promoting a video does not equate to censorship, and pointed out that the videos could still be accessed by those who want to view them.