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Discussion Starter #1
I had an interesting experience last night. I cleared my browser's cache and cookies and starting watching Youtube from scratch. I pointed to a few videos I like, some things about science, outdoors videos, some comedy. I followed the recommendations that emerged.

Within an hour or so I started seeing Russian state propaganda videos being recommended. There were quite a few about amazing things Putin is doing, how great the dear leader is. How he's so compassionate, smart, women love him -- utter tripe. Clear propaganda.

Another category of video that was heavily recommended was how people are overly sensitive about racism, how liberal social causes are stupid, etc.

Since I never went looking for any content that relates to this stuff in any way, I think these are the two most likely explanations:

(1) The people who produce this content, including the Russian government, know how to "hack" the Youtube algorithms to make their videos appear as recommendations. They might have figured out aspects of the recommendation algorithm, that they are exploiting.

(2) Youtube might just be flooded with so much content of this type that, statistically speaking, it has a high probability of showing up no matter what you do
 

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I had an interesting experience last night. I cleared my browser's cache and cookies and starting watching Youtube from scratch. I pointed to a few videos I like, some things about science, outdoors videos, some comedy. I followed the recommendations that emerged.

Within an hour or so I started seeing Russian state propaganda videos being recommended. There were quite a few about amazing things Putin is doing, how great the dear leader is. How he's so compassionate, smart, women love him -- utter tripe. Clear propaganda.

Another category of video that was heavily recommended was how people are overly sensitive about racism, how liberal social causes are stupid, etc.

Since I never went looking for any content that relates to this stuff in any way, I think these are the two most likely explanations:

(1) The people who produce this content, including the Russian government, know how to "hack" the Youtube algorithms to make their videos appear as recommendations. They might have figured out aspects of the recommendation algorithm, that they are exploiting.

(2) Youtube might just be flooded with so much content of this type that, statistically speaking, it has a high probability of showing up no matter what you do
Maybe they just realized you're Anti-American and assumed you're Pro-Russia.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Trump has been weak on foreign enemies. Commander in Chief Joe will show Putin who the real boss is.
In fact US intelligence has spoken pretty clear about this point, that Russia is fuelling anti western values propaganda on social media, including Youtube, Twitter, Facebook. These foreign agents are active in Canada as well, as reported by CSIS.

We should take this seriously. I would prefer to ignore social media, but now we know that it has a huge influence on average people. There are people who spend their whole lives on these platforms.

Foreign agents create confusion and cynicism about elections. But personally I think the most harmful part is creating cynicism about liberal western values, such as democracy and our government institutions. The foreign agents are attacking the foundations of our modern society (UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand).

Maybe they just realized you're Anti-American and assumed you're Pro-Russia.
I've considered more than once that you may be a foreign agent or paid agent of some kind, MrMatt. You sure walk and talk like a Russian troll, always trying to fuel controversy. When's the last time you ever posted anything on a financial topic?

You pop up in a matter of hours, though, if it's an issue that mentions racism or left vs right. And you constantly jab at left-leaning politicians, like you're paid to.

Between the two of us, MrMatt, I'm the only one who always stands up for American values: liberal western values. You talk more like a guy who yearns for authoritarianism.
 

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I am serious James.

President Biden will take the shackles off the US intelligence and military and let them do their work.

A Biden Presidency means the whole administration will change. No more weak Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo or other Trumpsters in control.

They will all be gone, replaced by serious professionals who have been chomping at the bit to get back to business.

Putin, Kim Jong Un........and other Trump pals had it good for a few years. That is all going to change.
 

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I've considered more than once that you may be a foreign agent or paid agent of some kind, MrMatt. You sure walk and talk like a Russian troll, always trying to fuel controversy. When's the last time you ever posted anything on a financial topic?

You pop up in a matter of hours, though, if it's an issue that mentions racism or left vs right. And you constantly jab at left-leaning politicians, like you're paid to.

Between the two of us, MrMatt, I'm the only one who always stands up for American values: liberal western values. You talk more like a guy who yearns for authoritarianism.
I wish I was paid.

Well, the politicians I jab at tend to be more left, but that's because they're generally pushing morally abhorrent agendas that hurt people.
The inherent sexist and racist mindset of some politiicans is disturbing, arrogant and wrong.
The thing is they justify it because they truly think they actually think everyone else is as racist and misogynistic as they are.
 

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Every country in the world aims propaganda at the competition.
America is totally embarrassed with Russia Today channel having billions of views.
when Russia today suggests that Capitalism stinks, is that interference in elections?
when Russia choses to side with protesters in Portland, just like America sides with those portesters in Hong Kong or Ukraine, is that interference in Chinese elections or Russia elections?
America is angry that Russia is providing programs that Americans and the world enjoy and want to watch.
The capitalists can not handle the competition.

The Israel government has a lobby named AIPAC and it funds electioneering in America. Is that interference in American elections?
Shouldn't AIPAC be named as a foreign agent like Russia Today TV?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Every country in the world aims propaganda at the competition.
America is totally embarrassed with Russia Today channel having billions of views.
when Russia today suggests that Capitalism stinks, is that interference in elections?
I get your point. But I still think there's something unique about this. I was just browsing for entertainment among Youtube videos (watching science & comedy vids) and saw a disproportionate number of "Putin is great" videos injected into my video stream. That's pretty notable. I didn't see a single video pushing any other country's interests.

And I can't remember the last time I saw any kind of media, at all, which push's China's interests. There is something unique about Russia, at least on Youtube.
 

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I get your point. But I still think there's something unique about this. I was just browsing for entertainment among Youtube videos (watching science & comedy vids) and saw a disproportionate number of "Putin is great" videos injected into my video stream. That's pretty notable. I didn't see a single video pushing any other country's interests.

And I can't remember the last time I saw any kind of media, at all, which push's China's interests. There is something unique about Russia, at least on Youtube.
Must be what you watch, I'm not seeing any Russia propaganda.
My feed is full of programming, music and laptop ads
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Must be what you watch, I'm not seeing any Russia propaganda.
My feed is full of programming, music and laptop ads
No, it has nothing to do with what I watch. That's the point. I reset the cookies (and also updated the web browser actually) to reset back to initial state, a blank slate for the algorithms.

Then watched a variety of completely non political content. The Russian content popped up very quickly, after watching just a handful of unrelated comedy videos. That's exactly why it's suspicious: there's no sensible reason for the Russian government content to appear in that situation.

Actually, others can try this too. Clear all your cookies, or use Firefox in private browsing mode to open a new youtube window. Obviously, don't log in. The point is to see what Youtube is recommending when there's nothing else to go on. On my first screen, I see this pro-Russia video, with absolutely no video watching trace to invite this:
Russia but its Friends intro

Next, I do a search for: stand up comic.

Then back to the youtube front page. I reload it a couple times to cycle videos. Again, I haven't watched anything yet, so there's no viewing data. Now I see this pro Russia video:
HILARIOUS: Putin Laughs At His Minister For Suggesting to Export...

I invite others to try this too. Clear your cookies and cache. Start from the blank slate on the main page. Do a couple basic searches, reload the front page. I bet you'll see some pro-Russia, pro-Putin videos. Seemingly out of the blue, but my guess is that they are hacking the Youtube suggestion algorithm.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Next experiment: I turned on a proxy to change my IP to an American IP address. I want to test if all of this has to do with my particular Canadian IP address.

Again, with cleared cache, the very first screen shows the same Putin video as above. Reloading it shows another Putin video about him using an umbrella. So now we know:
  • it has nothing to do with my IP address
  • it has nothing to do with my viewing history
Go ahead. Try it yourself. Clear your cookies/cache, or use New Private Windows. Don't log into Youtube... just see what it recommends to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Next experiment: a totally different computer, different operating system, with again a different / new IP address in a different part of the USA (accomplished by tethering via a US cell data service). And with Safari web browser, for something different.

So now I'm a typical American Youtube visitor and this computer has no association at all with my other trials. It's a totally different computer and IP.

I go to the Youtube front page, not logged in. The 14th video in order from the top is Russian propaganda.

If you don't see what this means, I'll spell it out for you: Russian actors are effectively pumping Russian propaganda onto the home screens and video recommendations, so that American & Canadian eyeballs are exposed to it, even if they haven't gone looking for it (or anything related).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Turns out that these are known issues:

This article describes how the Russian state is effective at generating billions of views of their content

And here's a report from a person who describes that they can't even block or stop the Russian content

Both the Russian state, and Google, make advertising revenue from this content.

This is very interesting and it really shows how susceptible all of us are when using social media. Even if you don't go looking for it, foreign influence/propaganda will find you. If the videos are subtle, you probably won't even realize you're watching skewed content which is designed to manipulate you and shift your political opinions. Russian propaganda is known to push a pro-Trump, right wing agenda and is very hostile to liberal western values.

@MrMatt and @Prairie Guy say they don't see it. Since we know it's all over Youtube, this means they are simply not aware of it, and this may have contributed to their radicalization.
 

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Turns out that these are known issues:

This article describes how the Russian state is effective at generating billions of views of their content

And here's a report from a person who describes that they can't even block or stop the Russian content

Both the Russian state, and Google, make advertising revenue from this content.

This is very interesting and it really shows how susceptible all of us are when using social media. Even if you don't go looking for it, foreign influence/propaganda will find you. If the videos are subtle, you probably won't even realize you're watching skewed content which is designed to manipulate you and shift your political opinions. Russian propaganda is known to push a pro-Trump, right wing agenda and is very hostile to liberal western values.

@MrMatt and @Prairie Guy say they don't see it. Since we know it's all over Youtube, this means they are simply not aware of it, and this may have contributed to their radicalization.
Sorry, but music videos from the 90's, and Programming Unity and Node.js videos are NOT Russian Propaganda.

As far as radicalization, I think you're projecting again.


So apparently you agree with Trump now? The title post of your example link is.
"I want to block Russian propaganda channel - maybe Trump was right after all and YT is in on it "


Of course Youtube also lets you flag videos you're not interested in watching.
 

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No, it has nothing to do with what I watch.
Of course it does. That's how the algorithms are designed to work. I watch YouTube videos on home improvement and strength training and those types of videos are recommended to me. But I've never been recommended a Russian video.
 

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Of course it does. That's how the algorithms are designed to work. I watch YouTube videos on home improvement and strength training and those types of videos are recommended to me. But I've never been recommended a Russian video.
He honestly doesn't see he's being radicalized.
Posting about all the militias and secret police out to get him, the Qanon silliness.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Of course it does. That's how the algorithms are designed to work. I watch YouTube videos on home improvement and strength training and those types of videos are recommended to me. But I've never been recommended a Russian video.
It's possible you haven't encountered them but my experiments prove that they come up by default. That means that most people will be exposed to them one way or another.

Also not surprising that our resident far right characters would defend these anti-western influences and try to pretend they don't exist.
 

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It's possible you haven't encountered them but my experiments prove that they come up by default. That means that most people will be exposed to them one way or another.

Also not surprising that our resident far right characters would defend these anti-western influences and try to pretend they don't exist.
Who defended them?
Who claimed they don't exist?

You're literally making stuff up.
 
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