Youtube and Facebook Algorithms: Helping or Hurting?

I love the concept of platforms like Facebook and Youtube having the intuitive ability to show me content tailored to my recent online activity.

If I am actively searching online for my next Hannah Montana t-shirt then by golly why wouldn’t I be open to Facey serving me ads for said products so I can make an informed decision before purchasing?

Personally, I think that tailored content in theory is great. In theory. But so was communism.

And so was Hannah Montana until she morphed into a box flashing nug beast called Miley Cyrus.

Okay I do have a point here. And, as always, it comes back to music.

As a pre-pubescent I would periodically detach myself from porn and navigate towards YouTube where I would go into what is commonly referred to as a “Youtube Spiral.” If you’re not familiar with this term it relates to (musically speaking) the golden age of Youtube in the early naughties when you’d discover a new and underground artist then get ‘Up Next’ recommendations from Youtube for equally interesting, fresh and new underground artists of the same vein. Artists with like 300 views. Brand new and super talented artist just waiting to pop off. Or. Because it was the Naughties. The ‘Badger Song’ which was the fashion at the time.

Unfortunately the ‘Badger Song’ did not stand the test of time (like Hannah Montana). I can only assume that the badger pivoted towards a country music career effectively hurdling himself into obscurity (like Hannah Montana).

Now this isn’t to say that all these underground artists were good and some of them didn’t secrete unforgivable noise vomit into my ear holes but god dammit I’m a big boy. It’s all part of the musical discovery experience and I will decide when I’m ready to say the safe word (muffins).

Fast forward to yesterday (26th July 2020). I flop my wretched meat vessel on the couch, open up Youtube and search for Terror Reid’s track ‘UPPERCUTS’

I can hear you now; “Cool. Great Mace. Okay and lot’s of fun.” No David or whatever. Not lots of fun.

I proceed to hit ‘Up Next’ and get more Terror Reid… Nice… But I only have to hit ‘Up Next’ two more times until I am greeted by a steaming musical turd so ripe I can tell it’s been laid recently…

Okay. I know I’m being a little harsh. The Chat’s aren’t bad but fuck, I’m thinking “How do I go from listening to my me songs to being fisted to the elbow by Triple J hits?!”

And now you’re thinking “Mace Vision, Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal and also I’m not sure if I care” Well you do care and I’ll tell you why…

I’m not a conspiracy theorist but I am a conspiracy theorist so after clicking ‘Up Next’ on a number of different videos I always arrived at the same destination which could only lead me to believe on thing…

The algorithm is biased and it will alway push you towards Drake songs…. Yep… I knew fuckin’ Drizzy was behind all this.

No matter where you start out you will always end up at a Drake song. In this case ‘Tootsie Slide’ which is basically just a tutorial on how to do the Moonwalk. The Moonwalk is the unofficial dance of the kiddie fiddlers according to my stolen Netflix accountWake up sheeple! They’re not showing you what you want to see they’re directing you towards what the record labels WANT you to see.

Okay I’ll be the first to admit it… This post got a little off track.. But what I am trying to say in all seriousness is that, although designed with the intention of convenience, these algorithms are stripping us of our ability to make informed choices and trying to pull squares like you and I into Drizzy circles.

Take me back to the times when YouTube didn’t pretend to know or tell me what I liked and let me drive slow (homie) along the information super highway without limitation.

Mad respect to Drizzy and The Chats though. I gotta say that for all you babies who don’t know I’m joking.

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