YouTube pushes children's videos to pedophiles through content recommendation engine

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Related: I was knocking some counterfeit products off a certain marketplace website, and I noticed that once I viewed one counterfeit, it very quickly started recommending other counterfeits to me. It did not, however, recommend the authentic versions of those products.

Can’t say for sure that they know what’s actually going on, but at the least it seems like they could police it with minimal additional effort.


This piece just gave me a bad case of the Mondays.


Well these algorithms all work in similar ways, it builds up a big list of people who liked X also liked Y. Of course a person who buys a counterfeit bag is not going to also buy the real bag.

This is a fact about reality: A person who has done thing X is more likely than a person who has not done thing X to be the sort of person who does thing X (the specifics of thing X may obviously change this). These algorithms take that bland fact and do two things with it: 1) reinforce that tendency; 2) assist people in living up to that tendency.

Those recommendations of counterfeits push people to buy more counterfeits and make it easier for them to do so. On the youtube side we’re talking about encouraging and assisting pedophiles.


That’s true, but Joe said this happened after they viewed the counterfeits, not after they bought one. And if you want to discourage people buying counterfeit products, then recommending the real ones before they buy the fakes would be a good step.

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I was just commenting on the data the algorithms are working from. Recommending things to people ought to be hugely more complicated, and should include things that steering people intentionally away from counterfeits, being sensitive about pregnancy-causes-babies type links that end up marketing onesies to women who has miscarried, and not aiding and encouraging pedophiles. These algorithms are up to none of that.


Why has this story reminded me of Joe Biden?

The engagement-driven business model certainly benefits the worst sort of people: paedophiles, fascists, Russian trolls.


Maybe, just maybe.,. the parents should be somewhat involved in these YouTube postings?

You get young girls in less-than t-shirts in the shower, dumping water over their friend’s head (supposed this helps cure MS or some bullshit) , and now everyone is wet, giggling… and ->post ??

Or those ‘touching’ challenges ? This isn’t a case of ONE pedo tricking kids into making these things… there’s this sense of eagerly buying into the latest trend without really understanding the whole picture.

Dumping water on your sister’s head, making her shirt all wet and thus… well… did this fund research? Did it lead to a cure?

Back in the day I needed a signed permission slip from my parents to play arcade games at the 7-Eleven… does YouTube not need something similar? A 5 year-old can sign up and start posting videos ?? A kid’s entire library is of them in wet clothing in pools or showers or otherwise engaged in … inappropriate behaviors and YouTube assumes there’s a responsible adult overseeing the account?

Give the kids this, don’t let them have an iAnything until they’re 18 and not your problem.


In other words, they were asking to have pedos watch their videos because they are not dressed like or behaving like proper young ladies? Yeah, fuck that.

[ETA] I’ve worked hard to give my kid a good understanding of how the internet works, and how you have to be careful what you post, and how. Parents should give them a good understanding of that. However, asking teens to not participate in the primary place where social life happens for teenagers is not going to solve the problem of pedophiles. Pedophiles are not seduced by sexy children. Pedophiles are attracted to children, regardless of how much clothing they have on.

There is literally no way to protect children entirely from every contingency out there. The best a parent can do is give them the best information that you can, and help them navigate the world. At some point (in their teen years) they NEED to break away and have their own social life outside of mom and dad. They need to learn how to avoid dangers on their own, because they will be adults some day and they need to have some ability to navigate the world.

The problem here is youtubes algorithms.


That’s a non-solution.

Seriously though.


Right? I’m all for parental responsibility, and I’m not a fan of a sanitized world made safe for kids, but FFS, you can’t keep kids in a bubble until they graduate HS! they’d be basket cases when they got to college and unable to cope with any sort of responsibility at all!


That looks so creepy. I suppose it could be innocent and Biden didn’t understand the difference in boundaries between how familar he can be with his grandchildren versus other people’s children.

Roger that.

And you do them a huge disservice which leaves them totally unprepared to deal with the harsh reality of the human existence if you try to.

I’m not saying just leave to your kids vulnerable to potential predators; I’m saying make them aware of the threats out there. Teach them how to protect themselves and avoid those threats whenever possible.




Real question re: YouTube–>Google–>Chromebooks–>K-12 students

Are the Chromebooks that schools are requiring K-12 students to use also requiring those students to log in under a Google profile that will compile data on them starting in kindergarten, first grade, sixth grade, whatever? And does that profile then follow them for the rest of their life?

I’m hoping someone with kids might be able to shed some light here.


As a parent of a kid with a school-assigned chromebook, I’m going to venture a guess that yes, this is the beginning of the Google profile. I don’t remember signing away those rights, but I probably did. Or my wife did.

I will say that I’m pretty impressed with the stuff my kiddo has done with that Chromebook this year.

It would be interesting to find out what kind of profile Google already had on her before the first account was created. They probably have silhouette profiles for children, based on their parents’ online activity. Kind of like how astronomers detect planets by the gravitational wobble they created in their star.


No. These are not only approved by parents, but posted by them. Presumably to share with their friends and families. The problem is that Youtube vidoes are public, and have a recommendation algorithm that will show random videos to people with no connection to the posters.

So I definitely put some blame on parents for posting videos to a public forum that they don’t actually want to share publicly. But I also get that a lot of parents aren’t going to understand the ramifications of posting to Youtube. Youtube should both do a better job of automatically handling this and also a better job helping potential posters to make a sensible choice.


AFAIK, no. As I understand, school chromebook programs use the educational version of “google for domains” or whatever it is called. So they are signed into a restricted school specific account that is not the same as any personal gmail account they have and is under control of the school administrator. The domain administrator also has control over the data retention policy. At least that is how the commercial version works, I haven’t actually used an educational domain but my wifes community college account looks to work the same way. Also since the accounts are created and managed by the school the should have correct age data so any further restrictions for collecting data on kids under 13 should be correctly implemented.


I imagine most parents have no idea there is even an option to post privately. I am only dimly aware but have no idea how to do it and would need to look it up (not that I’ve ever posted any video to YT).

Yes, YT should absolutely do more to make people aware and push the option, but of course that would be totally contra to their ability to generate revenue from uploaded video, That’s probably why it is a largely unknown feature.

But anyone who does not understand that there ARE ramifications of posting on YT really has not been payng attention and probaby ought to get their internet licence suspended pending remedial training. :wink: