RegretsReporter YouTube Mozilla Browser Extension

Mozilla is trying to crowdsource how YouTube radicalizes people

Mozilla's 'RegretsReporter' extension is trying to crowdsource info about YouTube's recommendations.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Sep 18, 2020   Updated on Sep 18, 2020, 9:15 am CDT

Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, wants your help in understanding why YouTube recommends videos that can send you sliding into rabbit holes.

The company this week announced the launch of “RegretsReporter,” a browser extension that allows users to report a video they find objectionable, which Mozilla will then privately collect information about—including the recommendations that led you to that original video.

Mozilla says information will only be collected about videos a user chooses to submit a report for. However, it will also collect periodic “aggregated information” about YouTube usage, such as how much time a user spends on the site.

The goal of the crowdsourced RegretsReporter, the company says, is “to hold YouTube and other companies accountable for the AI developed to power their recommendation systems.”

“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?” the RegretsReporter website notes.

YouTube has previously made changes to its policies to crack down on hate speech and other forms of extremism, and late last year acknowledged that it was working to “reduce the spread of borderline content and harmful misinformation.”

“YouTube recommendations can be delightful, but they can also be dangerous. The platform has a history of recommending harmful content—from pandemic conspiracies to political disinformation—to its users, even if they’ve previously viewed harmless content,” Ashley Boyd, Mozilla’s vice president of advocacy and engagement, wrote in a blog post. “By sharing data about YouTube regrets with Mozilla, people can help us better understand this issue—and help illuminate the right path forward.”

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*First Published: Sep 18, 2020, 9:14 am CDT