Youchoose is an environment that allows you to experience a different recommendation system. What you need to see new content is a browser extension, available for Chrome and Firefox. Algorithms are opinionated too, especially when they try to boost ads revenues.
We stopped maintaining YouChoose.
Yet, we hope this proof-of-concept will inspire future technology to give users agency back over their recommendations
The core concept behind YouChoose was to provide the backbone infrastructure for an algorithmic marketplace. This was an ambitious plan, especially considering that there currently isn't an offer for alternative recommender systems. (with the notable exception of tournesol.app, which curates recommendations based on collaborative ratings)
Therefor, we envisioned as a first feature to enable content creators to select recommended videos on their own YouTube content. The goal was to empower content creators, who are the lifeblood of YouTube, but also are the most impacted by the recommender system's arbitrary influence.
With this approach, we were also hoping that content creators would advertise the tool organically, and provide a first alternative stream of recommendation which could be trusted by their audience.
The project development was eventually sunset, for several reasons:
We thus had to make the difficult decision to sunset the project as a user-facing tool, to focus on the organization's main expertise and priority: algorithmic auditing.
As such, the extension was repurposed as a tool for researchers, enabling to conduct experiments on YouTube recommender system with real users. One such project is ongoing with researchers from MIT and UC Berkeley.
Still, we believe that YouChoose was an important proof of concept, which allowed to illustrate the case for algorithmic interoperability, and lay some grounds for future initiatives. The project has been used as an exemple during DSA negotiations, was presented at conferences (video) like RightsCons and MozFest, and the approach was praised by thought leaders like Cory Doctorow at the EFF.
We remain fully aligned with the philosophy and vision that YouChoose was promoting:
We are happy to see that the concept of interoperable algorithmic marketplace for social media platforms has since been gaining more traction, with projects like the AT Protocol. We are hoping to see them thrive!
Content Creators are the lifeblood of YouTube. With YouChoose they can choose recommendations on their own content, and spread GEMS from all over the internet.Share Your Gems
YouChoose is a free software project, whose mission is to empower users and content creators over big internet corporations. We build the first ecosystem of alternative recommender systems for YouTube, where curation can be decentralized to the community. Together, we can break free from algorithmic monopolies!Our Philosophy
Yes. YouChoose is freeware, which means all of its functionalities are free to be used for no cost.
Though, if you believe in the project, you can make a donation which will be used to support its development.
YouChoose is built by a non-profit organization, which is funded by grants and donation.
The goal is not to make money, but to empower internet users to gain agency back from the huge tech platforms. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme within the framework of the LEDGER Project funded under grant agreement No 825268.
No. If you are a user, you just need to download the extension, and you are ready to go.
If you are a Content Creator, we will just need you to demonstrate that you effectively own your Youtube channel. The process takes 2 minutes and consists in posting a unique code from your YouTube account. Then you can start customizing your recommendations!
When you add custom recommendations, they will be visible directly on YouTube.com to any user who has the YouChoose extension enabled on their browser.
As part of our mission to defend internet users against corporations, we investigate the platform's algorithm. We share our results with content creators, regulators, and you.
Our efforts are made possible thanks to the YouChoose users who enable Data Donation on their extension, which shares the recommendation made by YouTube's AI with our server.
Data donation is disabled by default, please enable it to help us watch on BigTech! [Learn more](https://youchoose.ai/data-donation).
Yes. If you enable data donation, your data will be sent over an encrypted channel, and fully anonymised.
We don't collect any of your personal data, only the recommendations send to you by YouTube. But we decided to go even further, so that they could never be linked back to you.
The recommendations are stored in Zero-Knowledge database, which means that every recommendation record is signed with a unique cryptographic token, generated with your private key. Because only you have this private key, only you can claim these records, aggregate them, or delete them. No one else can relink your contributions together. Not even us, or any hypothetical attacker who would breach into the database. [Learn more](https://youchoose.ai/data-donation).
The vast majority of the content we watch on YouTube is recommended by one of YouTube's algorithm. Though, these systems are not neutral, and they are optimised for the platform's profit, not your best interest.
In order to maximise engagement and ad revenues, the algorithm tends to amplify the most attention-catching and sensationalist content, which is typically not the highest quality content.
Even when YouTube makes good recommendations, the underlying system remains opaque, unaccountable, and is not customizable. There are various good approaches to recommend content, and you should have options to choose which is best for you.
We appreciate your support, it can take many forms!
A good start is to share YouChoose on social media and with your network. We don't have an advertising budget, so we rely on word of mouth to promote the tool.
If you are a content creator, it is extremely helpful if you can introduce YouChoose in one of your videos. The more your audience downloads YouChoose, the more your recommendations will be seen, and the richer your analytics data will be.
If you use YouChoose, please enable Data Donation. Your help is essential to scrutinize YouTube's algorithm.
If you are a developer, you can have a look at our GitHub issues, or reach out by email to discuss how we can collaborate on the code.
If you have any spare time or other skills to share, you surely can contribute. We would appreciate help in outreach efforts, UX research, design, fundraising... We are still a small and a bit understaffed team, so you can make a real impact! Finally, please consider donating money or crypto to support the development of the project 🙏