Documentaries  |  ,   |  April 24, 2019

Who is Manipulating YouTube, Twitter and Facebook?

Runtime 20 minutes. March 31, 2019
Runtime 29 minutes. April 8, 2019
Runtime 23 minutes. April 24, 2019

Documentary three part series produced by Destin Sandlin on Smarter Every Day. Total runtime 72 minutes.

  • Manipulating the YouTube Algorithm.
  • The Manipulation of Twitter.
  • Who is Manipulating Facebook?

Based on interviews with software engineers working at Google, Twitter and Facebook. Also features a discussion with Renée Diresta, a Mozilla Fellow in Media, Misinformation, and Trust, who researches unintended consequences of algorithms and works towards helping machines make better decisions.


Comment from Destin:

Even if you’re aware of these issues, odds are your friends and parents are not. I’m hoping we can use this video series to educate an incredible amount of people about the realities of algorithmic manipulation online. The engineers tasked with working on these problems take their jobs very seriously and they are truly the unsung heroes in this fight. I’d be honored if you shared this video with someone you love.

This is a completely apolitical video. I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on, you’re a target of these types of attacks. I’d like to say thank you to everyone at these three companies (and those beyond) willing to discuss this very sensitive topic, and giving me your trust. This touches many different areas…. technical engineering, human interactions, artificial intelligence, IT, financial incentives, law enforcement, attempts to manipulate others, etc.

This is an absolutely fascinating topic and I believe it’s imperative that we talk about these issues more openly so even the most lackadaisical social media user is aware of them. I have realized lately that in general, people online are very eager to become angry at these platforms whenever there is the slightest misstep, without truly understanding the impossible engineering tasks these individuals have been given.