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
ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) seeks to raise $500 million to $1.1 billion through issuance of dollar bonds to finance its equity purchase of Russian Vankor oilfield.A fully owned subsidiary of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), OVL acquired 15 percent of the oilfield for $1.26 billion and will reportedly use the proceeds from the bond to refinance bridge loans taken during the acquisition.Global rating agencies Moody’s and S&P assigned long term issue rating of Baa2 and BBB-, indicating OVL’s relatively low risk investment and capacity to meet debt obligation, respectively.Press Trust of India highlighted that both rating agencies were optimistic about OVL’s credentials. They said that the Indian state-owned ONGC, one of Asia’s largest oil exploration and production company, was robustly placed with consistent production, profitability and strong reserve positions. It added that the oil major “unconditionally and irrevocably guarantee the notes.”ONGC has restricted its guarantee amount to 109 percent of the principal amount of the bonds outstanding, said Vikas Halan, Moody’s Vice President and Senior Credit Officer to PTI. He added that the guarantee was adequate to secure the amounts due to bond holders.The news agency noted that ONGC was sitting on a pile of cash and cash equivalents of Rs. 25,800 crore with debt amounting to one third of it with one year maturity. It added the company’s balance sheet reflects other liquidity sources.
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