Earnest Pettie, the brand and diversity curation lead at YouTube, was caught on camera by an undercover agent from Project Veritas, explaining to them how YouTube’s staff manually curates and manipulates content in addition to what the algorithm filters from everyone’s feed.
In the 11 minute video Pettie was caught on camera breaking down the procedures for manipulating the YouTube algorithm for what pops up in the news feeds. You can check out the full video below that was posted up over on the Veritas Visuals YouTube channel.
Veritas managed to get in contact with Earnest after New York Times editor Nicholas Dudich admitted to having hired Pettie when he was working at Fusion, helping the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign.
Dudich had spilled the beans about YouTube giving the New York Times preferential treatment thanks to his connection with Earnest Pettie at YouTube.
Veritas then managed to get in contact Pettie who explained…
“I work on a team that does provide some human inputs into a lot of the machinery of YouTube.”
“[…] It means that the algorithms do control everything but sometimes you need humans to provide a check… [or] guidance.”
In a separate conversation Pettie was asked about if it were possible to bypass the algorithms and manually modify what gets presented to the average user of YouTube. Pettie explains…
“Realistically, that’s what that news carousel kind of does. It’s above the search results, so at the very least we can say this shelf of videos or new programs are legitimate news because we know they’re from legitimate news organizations. And if at that point somebody decides they’re going to scroll past that and go find Alex Jones, well, they were looking for him to begin with anyway.”
Pettie later explained that Nicholas Dudich from the New York Times was also one of the few people who had more knowledge about the way YouTube works than anyone else he knew.
Veritas’ undercover reporters managed to squeeze a very interesting quote out of Pettie by asking about the James Comey hearing and insinuated that YouTube may have given the New York Times preferential treatment. Pettie doesn’t directly say they were in cahoots, but instead acknowledges that sometimes they manually go in to correct what the algorithm is doing in order to better direct it toward the outcome they want, saying…
“In very rare cases, we will try to make up for the fact that something isn’t in the trending tab. This is very rare.
“But in those cases then we will use some type of human intervention to make sure that… to encourage the thing to be there, basically.”
Facebook came under similar scrutiny when they were accused of having humans purposefully prevent Conservative viewpoints and news from trending. The company later claimed that they would be replacing their trending team with an algorithm.
A lot of people had already known that YouTube manipulates content, trends, and what gets demonetized, but some people thought that the A.I., had gone rogue. In reality, it sounds like the artificial intelligence running the algorithm is performing exactly how they want, and when it isn’t quite directing views to certain topics, the diversity team steps in to point viewers in Google’s preferred direction.