YouTube’s ‘dislike’ button hardly prevented similar unwanted recommendations, according to a study by Mozilla Foundation. The removal of the dislike button from the video streaming platform in 2021 had sparked an outcry.

YouTube recently completed an experiment of streaming 10 unskippable ads in a single break.

The study — conducted by Mozilla’s research tool RegretsReporter — tracked the YouTube experience of 22,722 individuals and studied 2,758 of them. YouTube’s user control mechanisms, such as the ‘dislike’ and ‘don’t recommend channel’ buttons are inadequate to prevent unwanted recommendations.

More than 39 per cent of the respondents felt that YouTube’s user controls did not impact their recommendations at all, while 23 per cent felt it had mixed responses. According to the report, 43 per cent of unwanted recommendations were prevented by the ‘don’t recommend channel’ option, 11 per cent via ‘not interested’ button, 12 per cent via the ‘dislike’ option and 29 per cent via ‘remove from watch history.’ Based on the report, the “don’t recommend channel” control has some impact by blocking a specific creator or channel but does not consistently prevent recommendations from the unwanted channel.

The report recommended that YouTube’s user controls should be easy to understand and access. “YouTube should enhance its data access tools. YouTube should provide researchers with access to better tools that allow them to assess the signals that impact YouTube’s algorithm,” it said.