YouTube has officially defended its video recommendation algorithms, amid suggestions that the technology serves up increasingly extreme videos.
A BBC report on Thursday, explored how YouTube had helped the Flat Earth conspiracy theory spread.
Ben McOwen Wilson, the company’s new managing director for the UK, said YouTube “does the opposite of taking you down the rabbit hole”.
He told the BBC that YouTube worked to dispel misinformation and conspiracies.
But warned that some types of government regulation could start to look like censorship.
YouTube, as well as other internet giants such as Facebook and Twitter, have some big decisions to make. All must decide where they draw the line between freedom of expression, hateful content and misinformation.
And the government is watching. It has published a White Paper laying out its plans to regulate online platforms.
In his first interview since starting his new role, Mr McOwen Wilson spoke about the company’s algorithms, its approach to hate speech and what it expects from the UK government’s “online harms” legislation.
YouTube uses algorithms to recommend more videos for you to watch. These video suggestions appear in the app, down the side of the website and also show up when you get to the end of a video.
But YouTube has never explained exactly how its algorithms work. Critics say the platform offers up increasingly sensationalist and conspiratorial videos. But, Mr McOwen Wilson disagrees.
He says; “It’s what’s great about YouTube. It is what brings you from one small area and actually expands your horizon and does the opposite of taking you down the rabbit hole.”
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