The story behind the first black hole image is hard to dislike. A 29-year-old computer scientist named Katie Bouman developed a 2016 algorithm that combined data from multiple telescopes of a black hole and merged all of that data, which then created the first image of the mysterious cosmic structure. After years of data collection, the image was finally revealed earlier this month, and images of the excited Bouman who first saw the black hole passed the virus through social media. Now she will start a Postdoctoral at the prestigious scientific institution Caltech, and she has become one of the most influential women in the history of science.
This is the moment when the first image of the black hole was processed from the eyes of the researcher Katie Bouman. #EHTBlackHole #BlackHoleDay #Black hole (V /@dfbarajas) pic.twitter.com/n0ZnIoeG1d
– MIT CSAIL (@MIT_CSAIL) April 10, 2019
Bouman's success was the correct story for social videos made by BuzzFeed. But almost immediately, while we were all involved in deciding whether or not to fight or not fuck a black hole, the story of Bouman began to differ from a complete, factual narrative. Instead of the story of her triumph, hard work, and historical scientific jumper, YouTube's algorithm has begun a misogynistic, unchecked video about Bouman as the supreme search for her name. In addition to being a video full of unfounded allegations of a 29-year-old scientist, the video came from a relatively unknown account with several subscribers – defeating verified accounts such as Mashable. TED, i Washington Post, Behind this video have started the search results to draw video from right-wing commander Jordan Peterson – arguing that patriarchs and things like gender pay differences actually do not exist.
YouTube Algorithm Compared to Katie Bouman pic.twitter.com/3TABQ2vitN
– Max Woolf (@minimaxir) April 12, 2019
The problem with the YouTube algorithm is nothing new. The same algorithm leads many users to racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic content by allowing them to take auto-play to the proposed new video, and the same algorithm denotes content as trending when it is not. YouTube's algorithm is well-known for bringing some of its top content to people's front pages and keeping content trends alive. Katie Bouman's video was no different – the guys claiming that Bouman did "only 6% of the deal," but got "100% of the credits," went over to the "popular videos" of many people and stayed on top of the search for "Katie Bouman "" hours.
This video allegedly appeared thanks to Reddit's conspiracy, where several users linked snippets to create a video that reached the top of the search results. This is a common practice among the alt-right groups in Reddito who did the same to get Trump Trends, discredited prominent women in various fields, and pushed the philosophy of right-wing thinkers like Peterson.
Although YouTube was a major part of the problem, YouTube was not alone. Users at Hacker News – a corporate news site owned by the well-known startup incubator, Y Combinator, which combines news and allows people to comment – shared Bouman stories and tried to separate them to prove that Bouman did not really do much. Trolling became so bad that some of Bouman's colleagues had to go in to convince the public that he was, of course, responsible for the job.
(1/7) So obviously some (I hope very few) people online use the fact that I'm the primary developer eht-imaging software library (https://t.co/n7djw1r9hY) to launch terrible and sexist attacks on my colleagues and friend Katie Bouman. Stop.
– Andrew Chael (@thisgreyspirit) April 12, 2019
IN on TwitterYouTube in a series of tweets argued that sex video that criticized Katie Bouman wrongly came to the top of their search results and was removed in a matter of minutes.
"Sometimes, when the search is done, there are many cool results. Our algorithms, in some cases (when the query is related to news), trigger the surface of more authoritative sources, "says YouTube. "In this specific case, video clips from news sources began to grow to the top in minutes. These are all part of the changes we made in our anti-disinformation algorithm. "
Despite this statement, however, several news sources claimed to have done the search because YouTube shared that statement and still got the video in question as a top-notch result. But that would not be the first time YouTube claimed it was innocent while its algorithm pushed the worst YouTube content at the same time. Even with a story that is healthy, inspirational and pure as a picture of the black hole of Katie Bouman, the most notorious Internet platform will find a way to destroy it.