Glider from the game of Life, rising from the left




Topic: #YouTube

YouTube-Enforced Monetization


The Blender Foundation, which supports the development, distribution, and use of free and open-source 3D animation tools, has maintained a YouTube channel since 2008, to exhibit some of its users' achievements and to provide educational videos and recordings of conference talks.

In keeping with the Foundation's non-profit status and its interest in promoting works that are available under free licenses, this YouTube channel is ad-free. The Blender Foundation has not tried to monetize it in any way, despite its popularity (or perhaps because of the popularity it enjoys because it is ad-free).

Now Google is insisting that the channel run ads and sign up with its payment scheme. Since the Blender Foundation has refused, YouTube has now blocked the channel and cut off access to all of the content.

“YouTube Blocks Blender Videos Worldwide”
Francesco Siddi and Ton Roosendaal, Blender Foundation, June 19, 2018

#YouTube #Google #capitalism

YouTube Gone Wild


In the absence of explicit guidance from the user, the black-box decider inside YouTube that chooses and queues up the videos that it fancies you'll be most interested in seeing next tends to make recommendations that are progressively more bizarre and disturbing. Perhaps it has learned something about human nature, but more likely its selections are the video-recommender analogue of the luridly colored fantasy images that a black-box classifier constructs when directed to search for the pixel pattern that maximizes its response to a given search term such as “octopus” or “mouth” or “waterfall”.

This writer suspects that the black-box decider's behavior reflects something sinister in its programming. It turns out that many of the bizarre and disturbing videos that the decider eventually queues up, not too surprisingly, are pro-Trump ads and right-wing loons promoting conspiracy theories.

“‘Fiction Is Outperforming Reality’: How YouTube's Algorithm Distorts Truth”
Paul Lewis, The Guardian, February 2, 2018

#black-box-deciders #YouTube #recommendation-systems

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John David Stone (

created June 1, 2014 · last revised December 10, 2018