SOPA Images Google has made “major changes” to its recommendations system on YouTube that have reduced the amount of “alt-right” videos recommended to users, according to a study led by Nicolas Suzor, an associate professor at Queensland University of Technology.During the first two weeks of February, alt-right videos appeared in YouTube’s “Up Next” recommendations sidebar 7.8 percent of the time (roughly one in 13). From Feb. 15 onward, that number dropped to 0.4 percent (roughly one in 250).Suzor’s study took random samples of 3.6 million videos, and used 81 channels listed on a recent study by Rebecca Lewis as a starting point. That list includes voices like Richard Spencer, an American white supremacist, but also includes more mainstream voices like Joe Rogan, who does not self-identify as alt-right but often plays host to more extremist voices on his podcast (including alt-right figures such as Alex Jones).The drop appears significant, but it’s difficult to figure precisely how that drop occurred. We don’t know if YouTube is targeting ‘alt-right’ videos specifically or if the drop off is part of broader changes to YouTube’s recommendation system.YouTube has long spoken about making changes to recommendations. As early as two weeks ago, YouTube was criticised for allowing the flat-Earth movement to flourish using its platform.In response, YouTube has attempted to curtail what it refers to as false information. YouTube says freedom of speech is central to its core tenets, even when people express controversial beliefs, but has been working to reduce the spread of misinformation on its platform.YouTube has also been investing in surfacing credible voices on its platform. “In the last year alone,” said one recent YouTube blog post, “we’ve made hundreds of changes to improve the quality of recommendations for users on YouTube.”In that same blog post, YouTube said it was planning to reduce “recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways — such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the Earth is flat, or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11.”YouTube stated it would be a gradual change, and apply to less than 1 percent of the content uploaded on YouTube.In a statement sent to CNET, a YouTube spokesperson said the platform wasn’t targeting alt-right videos.”We announced in January that we are reducing recommendations of borderline content or videos that could misinform users in harmful ways. We have not had a chance to thoroughly review this study, however, our recommendation systems are not designed to favor or demote specific misinformation based on specific political perspectives.”Speaking to CNET, Nicolas Suzor is looking for more transparency from YouTube regarding how and why certain videos are recommended.”It’s not good enough that we have to guess about how well these systems are working,” he said, “and our research can only observe from the outside. YouTube has done a lot to improve transparency about its terms of service enforcement on a high level over the last year, but they still need to do more to help people understand how their algorithms are operating.” YouTube 0 Post a comment Tags Digital Media Culture Share your voice
Mentioned Above Amazon Fire TV Recast Read CNET’s review Now playing: Watch this: Josh Goldman/CNET Though the Roamio OTA Vox is discontinued, you can still find it on sale. It’s not as fast as the Bolt but works in the same way. Try to get the lifetime option and you won’t have to pay ongoing fees. Read CNET’s review 38 The Tablo Quad is the latest version of the popular cord-cutting DVR and goes all-in on features. There’s room for an internal drive and the inclusion of four tuners should cater for even the most demanding users. It’s not the easiest device to setup though, and its device compatibility doesn’t live up to the same power-user expectations. AirTV: Best supplement for Sling TV Sarah Tew/CNET Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. $229 Types of OTA DVR: Set top vs. network streamer? Sarah Tew/CNET The are two main types of DVR: a traditional set top, which connects directly to a single TV via an HDMI output, or a network streamer, which connects to your home network and streams to your TVs (via streamer like a Roku or, in the case of Recast, Amazon Fire TV) and other devices (phones and tablets) in the home or on the go. The TiVo Bolt OTA is a traditional set-top (which also has in-home streaming) while the AirTV and Amazon Fire TV Recast are straight network streamers. A set-top is best for people who usually watch on one TV, while a network device is for people who want to watch on multiple devices — say a tablet, phone and a living room TV. In general a network streamer is the more flexible option, and can better complement live TV streaming apps or services like Netflix. Other features to look for Regardless of which style of DVR you choose, there are some features common to both that you should look for. Two or more HD tuners — When it comes to HD tuners, the more your device has the merrier. The bare minimum is two so you can record two channels at the same time, or watch one while you record another, but heavy antenna heads might appreciate even more. 1TB or more of storage — Depending on the device you have, a terabyte of storage space should offer about 150 hours of programs. But if you choose a device such as the TiVo which automatically records shows it “thinks you like,” you could run out very quickly. Which is why you also need… The ability to add extra storage via USB or SD card — An external hard drive is an excellent option, providing your DVR doesn’t need a proprietary model. Generally, a 1TB external hard drive is cheap at about 50 bucks. A 14-day program guide is essential on a modern DVR. Sarah Tew/CNET 14 days of guide data — While seven days is really the minimum useful amount, two weeks gives you more flexibility. No ongoing fees — Most people cut the cord to save money, so paying yet another monthly fee doesn’t make a ton of sense. TiVo does offer a lifetime service option so you pay for the device and guide data upfront. DirecTV Now, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu and more: Live TV channels compared: Here’s how the top 100 channels stack up.Amazon Fire TV Recast review: One of the best cord-cutter companions yet. See at TiVo Sarah Tew/CNET Is it a streamer or is it a DVR? While the Stream plus is not quite there yet, some upcoming improvements — the ability to watch a still-recording program from the start and a full 14-day guide — should make this little streaming box more attractive. Amazon Fire TV Recast: Best DVR for cord cutters 17 Photos Share your voice Review • Amazon Fire TV Recast review: One of the best cord-cutter companions yet See it The AirTV has its pluses, and it is the cheapest of the three, but it’s really designed to complement a Sling TV subscription by adding local channels. So that’s an extra $25 a month on top.When paired with a Sling TV subscription, the AirTV provides the local channels that the service lacks. While you can use it on its own without paying extra money per month, the Amazon Fire TV Recast offers a better overall experience. And you need to add an external hard drive (not included) to make the AirTV function as a true DVR. Read CNET’s review See at Amazon Amazon Fire TV Recast Read CNET’s review Channel Master Stream Plus See at Amazon See at Channel Master 2:14 Read CNET’s hands-on Read CNET’s review There are currently three standout products to consider when buying a cord cutting DVR: the Amazon Fire TV Recast, the AirTV and the TiVo Bolt OTA. Each has its own unique features and capabilities, but there’s one I’d recommend to beginners and old hands alike. Let’s dive in.Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.My top three picks TiVo Bolt OTA: Best set-top DVR Dan Ackerman/CNET Comments Sarah Tew/CNET If you want a traditional set-top DVR, the TiVo Bolt OTA is your best option. While it’s pricier than the other products here (with service included), it also offers a ton of features including streaming apps, packaged with TiVo’s superb interface. While TiVo has the best name recognition of the three devices, the Bolt is not the “gotcha” you would expect from a company that basically invented the modern DVR. The Bolt relies a little too heavily on streaming apps and it’s twice as expensive — or more — than the other two. See at Tablo Three more optionsNone of those top three appeal to you? I’ve also reviewed a trio of other OTA DVRs that I didn’t like as much. They still have appeal for certain users, however. If you live in an area with good access to TV broadcast channels, putting up an antenna is an easy and inexpensive (read: free) way to get the shows you want without paying for cable. And hooking a DVR to that antenna enables you to unlock the full potential of those broadcasts: saving them to watch later, skipping commercials and even, in some cases, streaming them to watch on multiple TVs or outside the home.The downside, of course, is that “free” turns into, well, not free, especially with DVRs that charge a monthly service fee. A bare-bones DVR like the Channel Master Stream Plus starts at about $150 while a TiVo with all the bells and whistles is about $500 after you pay the lifetime service fee. But compared to the cost of a live TV streaming services like DirecTV Now or YouTube TV, even the most expensive antenna DVR will pay for itself eventually. TiVo Roamio OTA Vox See at Amazon Preview • Amazon Fire TV Recast: The antenna DVR with Alexa starts at $230 10 old cables you should keep around (and 6 to toss) Cord Cutters (OTT) News • The Amazon Fire TV Recast DVR is back on sale for $190 TiVo Bolt OTA vs Amazon Fire TV Recast: which DVR should… Nuvyyo Tablo Quad: Best DVR for tweakers CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Tags The Amazon Fire TV Recast is my pick for most people looking to cut the cord.It’s not perfect — it really needs a Fire TV stick to work (and a Prime membership is also helpful) — but its combination of features and flexibility put it over the top. At $220-plus it’s not cheap, but at least it comes with an onboard hard drive. And there’s no monthly fee.While you’ll need a Fire TV Stick to watch on a TV, the lack of any ongoing fees makes the Recast very attractive. Amazon says it is also working to improve the visibility of live TV within its interface, which will make it even more easy to use. DVRs
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