YouTube has changed its search algorithm to ensure that only sources it deems “authoritative” show up at the top of search results, but has not revealed how it determines which sources are considered authoritative and which aren’t.
Why the change?
In the days following the Las Vegas shooting, many videos appeared presenting “conspiracy theories” or misinformation. Some examples of suppressed videos are those that promote the idea that the shooting was staged by the government to promote gun control, that there was a second shooter, or that claim the shooter represented anti-fascist or anti-Trump or far-right groups or interests.
Now, when you search “Las Vegas shooting” on YouTube, only mainstream media sources show up on the first pages. The so-called “conspiracy” videos are still on YouTube, but they can be much more difficult to find.
YouTube policy allows for the company to take down accounts that receive more than three strikes agains the community standards policy. According to USA Today, the YouTube channel for the End Times Report took down all videos related to the Las Vegas shooting because they promoted second-shooter theories.
“I hated to do it, but if I get any more strikes, my entire channel is going to be deleted,” said Jake Morphonios, owner of the channel.
Impact; This writer’s perspective
More than 1 billion hours of video are viewed on YouTube each day, giving YouTube an overwhelming amount of power and influence over the dissemination of information. Because of that power, YouTube needs to be transparent about modifications to the search algorithm and about the criteria it uses to filter out content. It’s important to present content responsibly, but suppression of information is a dangerous game.