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The click, the bait and the spy.

Caroline

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Not in that particular order.

 

Now, this isn't worthy of a thread but still I find it interesting, and I've rarely seen others talk about it at least outside the deep circles of the underground web, it's about clickbait, on YouTube, yet not the normal ones made by users but one made by them, and it works in a pretty clever way, as far as I know it can't be fully defeated unless you get all new hardware, so yeah, this is a DEEP trip down the rabbit hole. It'll only be noticeable if you do a series of very specific things on the site that prolly 99% of users will NOT ever do.

 

Here's how it works.

You register an account and create a channel normally, subscribe to any 10 channels that are NOT from your country, then go into your account settings and change the language and location to anything you want, and do the same on the "Google account", log out of everything and clear the history, cookies and cache on the browser. You can then fire up a VPN and log back into your Youtube account that should have saved your previous settings, at this point there's a chance your homepage will *mostly* be showing videos from the channels you subbed to and also random vids from users uploading from the country you've set in the config, BUT, as you start scrolling down, things will start getting... weird.

 

There's a 1/250 chance the next time your homepage loads one out of the first 10 videos it displays will be from a content creator from the country you live in, even with the VPN, even when you've specifically set your settings to display content from a different country and cleared all cookies, history, cache ,etc. the site will still display one from the country you live in. This 1/250 chance appears to be fixed and no matter what you do on your end it won't ever go away, even if you get a new IP address, proxy your network, run dual VPNs or spoof your MAC address you'll still see a video from a local content creator any in 250 times you refresh or load the site. Chances are small, but never zero. It might *seem* to happen twice in a row because of two coincidental loops (vid 250/250 and then 1/250) but that's it, there wont't be any loop with 2/250 local videos.

 

I haven't seen much info on this but by logic if changing your MAC address on your router and PC isn't doing anything then it must be using the HWID of your network gear to go through any firewall or proxy you may have, meaning those HWIDs are automatically linked to the account you've made and therefore an user profile on Google's DB, and even if you delete the account and try making another one this hellish clickbait will still be there, once again, this will not be noticeable for the vast majority of users because they'll have youtube configured to display content from their *own* country and not a different one, but once you start trying to feed wrong/useless data to the algorithm they'll counter your puny attempts with "this one simple trick" by making a local video appear as a way of saying "hey, moron, WE KNOW".

 

It's as scary as is interesting because it proves G's tracking goes much deeper than simple cookies and browsing history. Oh, and you can disable your watch history on youtube and the one random video will still be there, and clicking on things like I'm not interested or Don't recommend channel won't do anything as the algo will still feed you another clip.

 

In theory, JUST in theory the only possible way to prevent this from happening would be to swap your motherboard and network gear, remember it's not the MAC address what they're linking to your unofficial profile. Or to never in your life visit youtube but for that you'd either have to go back in time or be born again, two things that are practically impossible if we adhere to the current laws of physics and the universe as we know it.

I have no way to try this because, well, I don't have a new router or mobo.

 

Arguments against this would be:

  • It shows trending videos.

And I say... if it only shows trending videos then shouldn't those videos be from the country you've picked on your settings? or at least from the country the VPN or proxy is in? 

  • It uses your previous Google searches to know.

What if I've never used the search engine? plus, if I've just made an account it *should not* have any previous history on it.

  • It uses the browser's locale to track you.

No, if my browser is set to en-US then in theory the algo should sneak in a video from the United States rather than one from my country.

  • Timezone on PC or router

Can't be, other people have tried this before setting their timezones to GMT and it didn't work.

And more.

 

A strange game, the only winning move is not to play. 

 

There can't be any clickbait videos on youtube if you block youtube and all google-related stuff on your hardware firewall.

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