Mozilla is introducing RegretsReporter, a new browser extension which allows YouTube users to "donate" their recommendations in the name of assisting researchers better understand the video platform's algorithm. YouTube has long been criticized for its opaque recommendation system, which sometimes leads users down rabbit holes, giving "regrettable recommendations."
Through the browser extension, which is available for both Chrome and Firefox, researchers and outside experts will be able to study what type of content leads the video platform to suggest violent, racist, or conspiratorial content. Additionally, Mozilla wants to identify the patterns that trigger these recommendations and will make its findings public.
Ashley Boyd, Vice President of Advocacy at Mozilla, wrote in a blog post:
“As you browse YouTube, the extension will automatically send data about how much time you spend on the platform, without collecting any information about what you are watching or searching.”
Users will be encouraged to report troubling recommendations they come across, in addition to describing the type of content that led to it. Boyd assured users that data collected will be linked to a randomly-generated user ID, which will minimize the risk of users being identified.
The extension isn't the first time Mozilla has called out YouTube's algorithm. Last year, it gave recommendations on changes YouTube should make.