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Captain Marvel Trolls Forced YouTube to Tweak Its Algorithm

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After Marvel had the audacity to put an outspoken woman at the forefront one of its superhero movies, toxic fans have been attempting to make their wrath known on YouTube. Videos urging viewers to boycott Captain Marvel and accusing its star, Brie Larson, of ruining the Marvel franchise have racked up millions of views, and can be found near the top of search results for terms related to the movie. But in order to make sure that angry rants don’t overshadow professional coverage from credible sources, YouTube has altered its search algorithm just to thwart trolls.

The Verge reports that YouTube has categorized “Brie Larson” as a “news-worthy search term.” This means the all-important top of the search results are now stacked with videos from credible sources like Wired, Variety, and ABC News, and users have to scroll a little farther down to find the red-faced fanboys. YouTube is not the first website to take measures against anti-Captain Marvel trolling. After trolls tanked the film’s community reviews weeks before the movie came out, Rotten Tomatoes changed its audience score protocols so that viewers could only offer their reviews after films are released. With Captain Marvel now officially in theaters, trolls appear to be back at it in force, and the review aggregator’s audience score for the movie currently clocks in at 31 percent, 50 points lower than the critics’s score. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 58,000 audience reviews Captain Marvel has racked up already exceeds that of Avengers: Infinity War, which was released last April.

Larson in Captain Marvel.
Marvel

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Larson attracted the ire of right-wing Marvel fans with her advocacy for diversity in the film world. She’s called out the lack of diversity among film critics, as more than 60 percent of film reviews are written by white men and barely five percent are written by women of color. “Other people besides white dudes like Star Wars and would love the opportunity to do a set visit,” said Larson during a speech at July’s Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards. “I don’t hate white dudes,” she said. “I’m just saying we need to be conscious of our bias and do our part to be sure that everyone’s in the room.”Making regular use of its ability to amplify established news sources in order to counter trolls would likely hamper YouTube’s reputation for building the careers of content creators who don’t have the backing of big-name media institutions. But it would also help ease one of the platform’s largest problems—the fact that it often serves as a gateway to far-right radicalism, leading kids from Call of Duty clips to the Men’s Rights movement and Holocaust denial with just a few clicks.

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