Friday, August 20, 2021

Documenting Youtube Manipulation

Dishonest manipulation of skeptical science has long been suspected. But without solid evidence, allegations of fraudulent manipulation are dismissed as “just paranoid speculation” or “conspiracy theory”. By documenting how "malleable" the youtube stats are, I demonstrate how easily such manipulations are performed. I hope this can encourage a Congressional investigation into their tactics.

Background information: I am an ecologist who served as director of San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus for 25 years. I studied ecosystems and wildlife and how they are affected by landscape changes, regional climate change, hydrology and wildfires. On August 17, 2021 I gave a science based talk to the Rotary Club of Novato, CA regards Wildfires and Climate which clearly showed climate change is not a significant factor, but managing the ecosystem properly is the key to environmentally sound adaptation. I converted my Powerpoint presentation to a Video and uploaded it to Youtube with the title Understanding Wildfires and Climate and How we Must Adapt and posted that link to my blog, Facebook, and WUWT.

I first noticed on day one of the video’s publication that the number of LIKEs suddenly dropped from 22 to 15 in just a few hours. Not sure if I was imagining it, or Youtube was trying to downgrade the video for debunking the bogus narrative that wildfires were due to a “climate crisis,” I began checking the stats every few hours and taking screenshots to document any changes (see below). I also changed the thumbnail name from “Understanding Wildfires and Climate and How we Must Adapt” to “Prevent Looming Megafires” which was my main reason for this video, but a subsequent google search for that title did not list the video at all, so my thumbnail name got returned to “Understanding Wildfires and Climate and How we Must Adapt” which was always part of the video description.

I believe the # of views and # of Likes determine the way Youtube/Google algorithms guide the public to finding any video via “Youtube searches” or “Other YouTube features” which presently accounts for a total of 5% of my video’s views.

Here is the screenshot documentation showing undeniable dishonest manipulation.

1. screenshot August 18, 8:33 PM ; a) 741 Views b) 22 Likes

2. screenshot August 19, 7:33 AM ; a) 782 Views b) 20 Likes (Likes reduced by 2)

3. screenshot August 19, 9:51 AM ; a) 768 Views b) 20 Likes: (views reduced by 14, Likes still only 20)

At this point I tweeted about Youtube’s manipulation of video stats and that Tweet had over 4000 views. Coincidentally, Likes shortly thereafter jumped up by 3 but with only 1 added view. Hmmm?

4. screenshot August 19, 10:07 AM; a) 769 Views b) 23 Likes: (1 more View, Likes up by 3)

5. screenshot August 19, 10:25 AM; a) 770 Views b) 24 Likes: (1 more View but still less that 782 at 7:30 AM, Likes up by 1)

6. screenshot August 19, 10:37 PM; a) 850 Views b) 28 Likes (Views and Likes gradually increased throughout the day

7. screenshot August 20, 5:47 AM; a) 863 Views b) 22 Likes. (Views up, Likes reduced by 6). So again, I tweeted about Youtube manipulation!

8. screenshot August 20, 8:12 AM; a) 860 Views b) 30 Likes. (Views down by 3, but Likes raised up by 8 in 2 hours to 30 total). Hmmm, do they monitor my tweets?

Overnight August 29-30 the reduced Likes by 20

I contimue to screenshot persistent removal of Likes and Views