The District Attorney of Manhattan Questions YouTube’s Circulation of “Ghost Gun” Tutorials to Underage Individuals

The District Attorney of Manhattan Questions YouTube's Circulation of Ghost Gun Tutorials to Underage Individuals## YouTube Criticized for Recommending “Ghost Gun” Instructions to Underage Viewers

Alvin Bragg, District Attorney of Manhattan, has voiced his concern about YouTube playing a role in endorsing “ghost gun” construction guides to viewers who are minors. The videos are allegedly recommended to minors who engage with video game content, raising serious issues about YouTube’s suggestion algorithm.

Defining “Ghost Guns”

“Ghost guns” refer to guns made using 3D-printed components or parts purchased from kits. They do not carry serial numbers, making it extremely hard to trace them, and they can be procured without any background check. The ease of their creation and the challenges associated with tracking them make these weapons a significant problem for law enforcement agencies.

The Influence of YouTube’s Algorithm

Bragg’s alarm springs from a study undertaken by the Tech Transparency Project in 2023. The project made four YouTube accounts pretending to belong to 14 and 9-year-old boys. After around 100 gaming videos were viewed on these accounts, YouTube’s algorithm started suggesting videos that guide viewers on how to build ghost guns.

These suggestions were made irrespective of whether the accounts interacted with any content related to real guns. The algorithm also proposed other videos featuring violence, including school shootings and serial killers.

The Effect on New York City

A significant number of cases involving gun possession among young people in New York City are reportedly linked to learning how to make ghost guns from YouTube, according to prosecutor Bragg. Although YouTube removes such videos when alerted by firearm safety groups, Bragg insists more active measures are needed to get rid of these videos and prevent future uploading.

Moreover, Bragg criticized the platform for lacking a feature in parental controls that allows caregivers to disable the website recommendations.

The Reply from YouTube

In a response to the charges levied against it, YouTube said it would scrupulously evaluate any videos notified by Manhattan’s DA. The digital platform assured its commitment to the removal of any content identified in violation of its standards.

Final Words

The storm of controversy regarding YouTube’s recommendation of “ghost gun” guide videos to minors emphasizes the continuing struggle for digital platforms to properly govern content. The scenario calls for more effective content regulation measures and parental supervision techniques to ensure the well-being of underage users.

Questions and Answers

Q1: What is meant by “ghost guns”?
A: “Ghost guns” signify firearms crafted using 3D printed parts or components sourced from kits. They are devoid of serial numbers, rendering them almost impossible to trace, and can be obtained without going through a background check.

Q2: How does YouTube’s algorithm endorse these videos to minors?
A: Based on research conducted by the Tech Transparency Project, after at least 100 gaming videos are viewed, YouTube’s algorithm starts suggesting how-to videos for creating ghost guns to accounts impersonating underage boys.

Q3: What is YouTube’s reply to these allegations?
A: YouTube has declared that it will meticulously review any videos reported by the Manhattan DA and pledges to remove any content in violation of its rules.

Q4: What changes does the District Attorney of Manhattan recommend for YouTube?
A: Alvin Bragg advises that YouTube should be more vigilant and proactive in eliminating relevant videos, restrict future uploads, and offer caregivers an option to disable the site’s recommendations in parental control settings.

Q5: What effects have these videos had on New York City?
A: There have been numerous reports of young people who were investigated for possessing guns in New York City learning how to create ghost guns from YouTube, as informed by District Attorney Alvin Bragg.