A professor who studies algorithms and social networks says that YouTube's excuse for not moderating the section of its site that helps users discover new videos is "absurd."
Google-owned video site YouTube came under fire this week when a video promoting the idea that a survivor of the Florida school shooting was a crisis actor hit the No. 1 spot on its "Trending" tab in the United States. After reporters pointed it out, YouTube removed the video for violating its policy against harassment, which was updated last year to include "hoax videos that target the victims" of breaking news tragedies.
This latest blunder hit on several areas of scrutiny that YouTube is facing right now. It has previously struggled with promoting fake news after tragic events, such as last year's shooting in Las Vegas. Its algorithmic recommendations routinely promote divisive videos. This is the second high-profile incident in 2018 in which the "Trending" tab has featured inappropriate content (a now-deleted video by YouTube star Logan Paul crassly featured a suicide victim in Japan).