New Mozilla extension lets you report harmful YouTube recommendations

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The YouTube algorithm might be one of the most divisive pieces of code on the internet. Time and time again it has been the reason behind several instances of creator outcries. While it remains to be seen if that will ever change, Mozilla is trying to look into the situation, particularly as it pertains to harmful recommended videos.

To that end the company has announced a browser extension called RegretsReporter, currently available on Firefox (naturally) and Google Chrome for download.

The extension features a red sad face that when clicked, will allow users to report a video that has been recommended to them on YouTube, as well as explain how the video ended in their recommendations.

“With the RegretsReporter extension, you can immediately take action to send us recommended videos that you regret watching—like pseudoscience or anti-LGBTQ+ content,” notes the site page for the extension.

“By sharing your experiences, you can help us answer questions like: what kinds of recommended videos do users regret watching? Are there usage patterns that lead to more regrettable content being recommended? What does a YouTube rabbit hole look like, and at what point does it become something you wish you never clicked on?,” it adds.

While of the above are indeed important questions to ask, especially as watching content on YouTube is a way of life for many these days, it still remains to be seen if Mozilla will indeed get the answers they’re wanting.

The development of RegretsReporter is also something that Mozilla has been working on for some time now, with The Verge pointing out that the company began gathering data from users around recommendations they got on the video platform last year already.

“For years, journalists, researchers, and even former YouTube employees have been telling YouTube that they need to stop their recommendation engine from sending users down racist, conspiratorial, and other regrettable rabbit holes,” Mozilla highlights.

With misinformation in particular being a problem facing social media at the moment, it should prove interesting to see what YouTube’s response to such a tool will be, as well as whether Mozilla has plans to rollout similar extensions for other platforms in future.

If you don’t like what’s being recommended to you on YouTube, this may be a good way to be heard.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.