To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the New York Times report, entitled How YouTube Radicalised Brazil, published 11 August 2019, if she will make an assessment of whether YouTube’s recommendation algorithm has played a role in increasing (a) radicalisation and (b) misinformation.
The government recognises the importance of algorithms as part of the responsible deployment of digital technologies. To this end, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) established the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) in November 2018. The Centre provides government with independent, expert advice on measures needed to enable/ensure safe, ethical and innovative uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data-driven technologies. The Centre’s 2019/20 Work Programme is focused on delivering two major reviews, including one on online targeting. The Targeting Review is investigating how data is used to shape people’s online environments via the personalisation and targeting of messages, content and services online. Interim findings were published in July 2019, alongside a literature review, and the Centre will publish its final recommendations this December.
In addition, the Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. This will make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online. The government expects companies to proactively engage in looking at tech solutions, including ensuring their algorithms do not inadvertently cause harm. We are working closely with social media platforms to encourage and promote responsible behaviour ahead of the implementation of the online harms regulatory framework.