Curious, I decided to watch a suggested video on YouTube the other. I’m not going to post a link to the video because I don’t want to tempt the algorithms any more than they’ve already been tempted, but the video was from a conservative commentator on why Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law isn’t really that bad.

Now, as a quick sidebar, I did learn that the bill isn’t actually called “Don’t Say Gay” and in no place does it even mention the word gay. The media’s nomenclature appears to be based on the intent of the law, not the actual wording of the law. I’m not here to debate whether this makes a difference and if this entire law is a good thing or a bad thing, I’m just pointing out some things I learned around the law.

So after watching this video YouTube apparently discerned I had completely changed my political stances or something because now the algorithm is pushing conservative viewpoints in my suggested feed. It’s been two days since I looked at that first video and this morning my “suggested” feed looked like this.

I try to use my iPad Pro for media consumption such as videos on YouTube, but because of the way the iPad works, and its app based ecosystem, the best way to watch YouTube videos is to use the YouTube app. Using the YouTube app doesn’t allow for plugins that squash things like suggestions and ads and the like, something I very much enjoy on my laptop when watching YouTube through a browser.

This little discovery points out several things to me.

1. Closed ecosystems forcing you to consume Internet content a certain way is not always the best way, and in fact, is frequently not the best way.

2. Algorithmic services like YouTube and Twitter and Facebook want you, the user, to be outraged. Not only are they relying on scooping up as much information as possible from your device, they’re trying to engage you by apparently getting you incensed. I can’t help but think this is a contributor as to why people out in the real world are always so damn cranky. Algorithms have changed societal behavior in an unfortunate way.

I decided that I will no longer consume YouTube videos without the safeguards of the plugins I have installed on Firefox and Safari, plugins that are only available on laptops. If I feel like I want to watch YouTube and I don’t have a laptop nearby, I’ll read a book or play Solitaire or something.