YouTube helps spread the conspiracy theory that the earth is flat, new research from Texas tech University surmises. but that is due, in part, to people watching videos about other conspiracies.
The researchers attended the world’s largest convention of Flat Earthers each of the last 2 years, according to The Guardian. They interviewed thirty different flat Earth believers.Twenty-nine of them said they didn’t believe the earth was flat 2 years ago, but changed their minds after seeing conspiracy videos on YouTube.
The interviewees said they’d been watching videos about other conspiracies surrounding things like the moon landings and 9/11 when YouTube offered up the flat Earth videos to watch next.
Because You-Tube’s algorithm suggests videos which are similar to what you are already watching, many people who were watching other conspiracy videos, found a flat Earth video in their recommended feed and proceeded down the Rabbit hole, researcher Alex Olshansky told Science Alert.
YouTube said in a January blog post it’s addressing how to slow the spread of misleading videos that do not violate its community guidelines.
To that end, we will now start 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 said.
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Lead researcher Asheley Landrum presented the results at the american Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC, and known as on scientists to make their own YouTube videos to debunk the conspiracy videos, The Guardian reported. but she admitted some people probably will continue to believe in a Flat Earth, regardless.