Manhattan DA says YouTube's algorithm pushes ghost gun content to children, youth gamers

ByDarla Miles WTVD logo
Thursday, April 25, 2024
Manhattan DA says YouTube's algorithm pushes ghost gun content to children, youth gamers
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg says the YouTube algorithm promotes violent ghost gun content to children and young gamers.

NEW YORK -- There is growing concern about a shocking investigation that revealed YouTube's algorithm is pushing ghost gun content to those most at risk of making the weapons, including children playing video games.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg shared details of the investigation and said the videos in question are showing viewers how to make the untraceable ghost guns.

In several ongoing cases, teens and young adults being investigated for ghost gun possession and manufacturing told prosecutors they learned to build ghost guns on YouTube in less than an hour.

"All you need is a computer and a mouse and an interest in gaming, and you can go from games to guns in 15 minutes," Bragg said.

Now Bragg, along with other senior city leaders, are calling out YouTube and have sent the streaming giant a letter detailing what they have deemed as problematic.

"What we want to happen today is for YouTube to not have an algorithm that pushes people, especially our youth, to ghost guns," he said.

In the letter, Bragg also asks YouTube to provide updated options for users to be able to disable suggested violent content as well as a ban on videos about how to assemble ghost guns.

His request comes less than a year after a 17-year-old was arrested for running a ghost gun assembly ring at a Harlem daycare.

"It was individuals of that group of youths who were constructing these 3D-printed firearms for sale on the street in a daycare center. So, you know, we get the gamut," said NYPD Inspector of Major Case Field Intelligence Courtney Nilan.

Investigators said a simple search for the video game "Call of Duty" can quickly lead to a flood of content about guns.

"Then we see more videos being suggested: How a Glock works, how an AR-15 works, how a revolver works. So all these videos are now being suggested. Just four minutes after a search and 'Call of Duty' videos, we have a video then of a 3D-printed Glock," said Bonnie Seok of the Manhattan DA Ghost Gun Initiative.