Ann Reardon

Is the YouTube algorithm biased against women?

Three questions youtube won’t answer:
1. Is the YouTube AI algorithm biased against women?
This question was posed to me many years ago by a YouTube employee when the algorithm first switched to AI. More recently the lack of female creators at conferences brough this question back up in my mind.
All AI algorithms are trained on historical data, they are not neutral. The problem is, if there is any bias in that data they tend to accentuate the bias. I have noticed the decline in views of many female channels that used to be big. But had assumed that there were new ones taking their place, that I just had not come across. However, when I looked up the view counts of the female creators who were being featured at conferences, I was surprised by how small their long form views were for the month. That matters because a lower view count means lower pay, and lower budgets for videos. That makes it harder to compete. For example if we compare the top tech channels, top male Marques Brownlee (28 million long form views in last 30 days) and female ijustine (912 thousand long form views in last 30 days). One can afford to rent a studio and hire staff, the other can’t.

When I started at YouTube there were many large channels hosted by female creators. Yes, there were more males, but there were plenty of girls doing well. I decided to dig into the data for top channels to find out if there are any females at the top. Watch the video to see who has the most long-form video views int he last 30 days.

2. Are shorts killing long form views on YouTube?

3. What even counts as a view on shorts?
Everyone is in love with view counts. But not all views are equal. If you even swipe past a video on TikTok – you’ve watched it! It counts as a view. If you do watch it and it loops and starts playing again before you swipe away – well now you’ve watched it twice. But on YouTube long form videos you have to initiate the view and watch for at least 30 seconds. If you watch for 25 seconds, it doesn’t count as a view. So what is being measured as a view for shorts? The answer they gave might surprise you.

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ann reardon crazy sweet creations cookbook
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All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

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