Our impact on public awareness
Our impact on regulation
Our publications have been cited by regulators to advocate for more transparency on algorithmic amplification, both regarding the behavior and the design of the algorithm.
The EU Commission consulted us while drafting the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, which promises to deeply reform the legal framing of online platforms, both in Europe and globally.
In the US, our analysis of YouTube's promotion of conspiratorial content was a central argument in a Congressional Testimony entitled: “A Country in Crisis: How Disinformation Online is Dividing the Nation”.
In January 2021, US Congress cited our work in a formal letter to the CEOs of Google and YouTube.
Our impact on YouTube
AlgoTransparency has been providing more transparency on which Youtube videos are the most recommended.
The past two years have seen a number of important milestones achieved toward a safer YouTube. These are the result of a large concerted effort by journalists, academics, and NGOs. When featured in the media, we have seen our work illicit a positive reaction from YouTube. First it put wikipedia snippets under debated. Then, they took more than 30 measures to decrease the propagation of harmful disinformation, which resulted in a decrease of it by 70%.
The timeline below illustrates the most notable public steps on our journey.
AlgoTransparencyThe first article in The Guardian featuring our work about the 2016 US election and the promotion of harmful lies on YouTube. The Guardian communicated extensively with Google.
YoutubeOn the same day, Google announces in the WSJ that it will implement new informational labels to provide context in an effort to fight Conspiracy and Propaganda.
AlgoTransparencyA WSJ investigation, to which Guillaume contributed, illustrates that YouTube is pushing people towards unexpected content.
- Guillaume’s tweet about Alex Jones being massively promoted by YouTube goes viral with millions of views.
AlgotransparencyGuillaume was named in the WIRED25 list of "people racing to save us" for his work denouncing harmful conspiracy promoted by YouTube.
YoutubeYouTube announces for the first time that they will actively be "reducing recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways—such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat, or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11."
- Youtube official blog announced that their measures to reduce the amplification of harmful content led to a 70% average drop in watch time of this content coming from non-subscribed recommendations in the U.S.
AlgotransparencyOur analysis of the decrease in conspiracy theories is published in the New York Times. One of the most prominent conspiracists that we expose as beeing massively promoted by YouTube is David Icke.
YoutubeDavid Icke, the most popular and prominent YouTuber depicted in our conspiracy analysis, is banned from YouTube.
- YouTube announces its continued effort to stop promoting conspiracies, and shows that these have decreased the promotion of prominent QAnon-related channels by 80%.
AlgotransparencyWe monitor how YouTube's recommender system has evolved, as compared to the 2016 elections, and publish an analysis with the NewYork Times. We notice significant changes in the most recommended channels, in favor of authoritative news channels over independent YouTubers. The propensity to promote polarizing content rather than reconciling views remains.
- Guillaume tweets that YouTube is promoting the voter fraud narrative by the millions, in particular from channels NTD and Newsmax TV.
YoutubeYoutube bans new videos about voter fraud.