Getting Away From YouTube's Algorithm And Its Suggestions

If you love consuming video content, seeing creative new stuff, and exploring everything bizarre and engaging that the internet might have to offer, then you may well love YouTube. However, if you’ve been using it for a while, you’ve probably noticed a pretty aggressive change over the past few years. The algorithm dictates what it thinks you want to watch next, and will always recommend videos that it thinks fit along these lines but, in reality, this often means recommending the same few channels again and again, and a few that are closely related.

If you’re looking to get back to the days of the online Wild West, where it felt like every click could take you somewhere new, then it might be time to get out of YouTube’s algorithm. Here are a few ways that you can do just that.

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Browse for playlists rather than videos

If you have an idea of something that you want to watch on YouTube that’s a little out of the ordinary, then you can make sure that you get your fill of that content by searching for playlists, rather than searching for videos. You can find playlists not only from the original content creators, but you might find collections from other creators that can send you down all kidneys of fun rabbit holes of content.

Understanding the algorithm

Before you go making any major changes, it’s a good idea to get a good idea of how the algorithm works, in the first place. The algorithm looks over the trends in your video watch history, taking into account the subject matter, the channels, and even things like the length of the videos you watch to find videos that are either similar or are also often watched by people who like the same videos that you have liked in the past.

Reset the recommendations YouTube makes

One of the problems with YouTube’s algorithm is that the more you watch one topic or channel, the more likely it is to keep popping up in your recommendations. If you can’t find anything else to watch, then you can end up clicking on it, which only repeats the cycle. You can break that cycle by going into your YouTube Watch History options (found in the “Your Data In YouTube” portion of your Google account settings). From there, click the “Manage Your YouTube History” field and then click Delete. You might want to choose “Delete All Time” but sometimes, only erasing your recent history can get you out of a pretty deep algorithm hole.

Stop YouTube from making recommendations

Resetting YouTube’s user history and your watch history can wipe the slate clean, getting you out of the algorithm to some degree. But as soon as you start watching videos, it’s going to start building up all over again. To that end, you can pause the suggestions by, once again, going into your YouTube Watch History options, and this time you want to find the YouTube History setting and turn it off. This will stop YouTube from actively remembering what you’re watching, which means it won’t make as many recommendations.

Try sites other than YouTube

Of course, if you really want to escape the algorithm, then it pays to remember that there are video content hosting sites other than YouTube. Long-time competitors and YouTube alternatives like Vimeo and Dailymotion have their own thriving landscapes, often focused on other kinds of content than the stuff that goes viral on YouTube. Meanwhile, streaming services like Twitch have literally endless live entertainment. There’s never a shortage of new stuff to explore, even off of the biggest video platform on the web.

Start curating your own experience

Of course, some people like to have some degree of curated experience and to let some recommended videos through. The longer you rely on the algorithm, the better your chance of falling into the same patterns. But you can make sure that it doesn’t recommend videos from creators that you don’t want to see. When you get such a video, click the settings button in the top right corner of the video title and choose “Don’t recommend this creator to me.” You even look at some of the most-blocked YouTube channels to get a headstart on ensuring the algorithm doesn’t send content you don’t like your way.

With the tips above, you might have a little more luck getting away from the merry-go-round of repeating the same suggestions time and time again. That way, you might be able to see some brand-new content for the first time.

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