Senator warns YouTube algorithm may be open to manipulation by ‘bad actors’

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Senator Mark Warner of Virginia warns of ‘optimising for outrageous, salacious, and often fraudulent content’ amid 2016 election concerns

The top-ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee has warned that YouTube’s powerful recommendation algorithm may be “optimising for outrageous, salacious, and often fraudulent content” or susceptible to “manipulation by bad actors, including foreign intelligence entities”.

Senator Mark Warner, of Virginia, made the stark warning after an investigation by the Guardian found that the Google-owned video platform was systematically promoting divisive and conspiratorial videos that were damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the months leading up to the 2016 election.

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