If you thought the YouTube dislike button was just a minor inconvenience, you may be correct.
According to this new study, even "not interested" or "remove from watch history" might not affect the type of content YouTube offers you.
Mozilla's research found that the majority of services users have to control YouTube content are "ineffective," preventing less than half of undesirable algorithmic recommendations.
Many privacy experts and civil rights organizations claim that YouTube's recommendation algorithms are both opaque and controversial. It also sends users into twisted echo chambers, similar to alt-right feeds.
Also read: Why Are Youtube Search Results Broken? This One Man Single-handedly Uploaded 2 Million Videos
Critics have a new tool at their disposal in the struggle to open up algorithms to scrutiny as a result of Mozilla's research.
All the tools YouTube offers you to dislike a video or influence your feed, according to Mozilla's research, which included millions of recommended videos and tens of thousands of anonymous stories.
What they found was this:
The YouTube "dislike" button prevented 12 percent of unwanted recommendations, while "not interested" was even less effective, preventing 11 percent of unwanted videos.
What is the most effective way to stop seeing YouTube junk you don't want? The "Remove from watch history" feature stopped 29 percent of unwanted recommendations, which is fine, but you should choose the "don't recommend from channel" option if you want to stop seeing certain content.
The findings of this investigation were based on data collected by RegretsReporter, a browser extension that allows Firefox users to "donate" their recommendations data to aid researchers in obtaining actionable insights.
"Nothing changed. Sometimes I would report things as "fraudulent" and "spam," and the following day it was back in. It almost feels like the more negative feedback I give to their suggestions the higher the bulls**t mountain climbs. Even when you block certain sources, they return," said one irritated YouTube user quoted by Mozilla.