Noooooo! Curse you, algorithm!


I made the mistake of reading this article about some minor celebrity, Demi Lovato, endorsing some weird video channel, Gaia. Look at this: it’s perfect skeptic bait.

On a Lovato-themed Gaia page for their fans, the singer’s supporters can view a free episode of a Gaia show about an “ancient space program” before signing up for a $11.99 monthly Gaia membership.

Lovato’s “handpicked favorite” shows, according to the website, include a series positing that Atlantis was real and that humanity is living in the aftermath of a battle between giants and lizard-like “reptilians.”

A representative for Lovato declined to comment on the record. Gaia didn’t respond to a request for comment.

While the claims made in the videos produced by Gaia can seem laughable, the site, which claims to have more than 750,000 members, has become a clearinghouse pushing conspiracy theories into the New Age movement. Gaia’s videos are slickly produced to look like genuine documentaries, with some featuring prominent figures in the anti-vaccine movement. The site has also been called a “hub for QAnon,” with QAnon promoters flocking to the platform after facing crackdowns from other websites.

Then I doubled my mistake. I had to look up this Gaia thing (warning: you might not want click on the link yourself, it’s cursed). It’s an overpriced subscription service for really bad fake “documentaries”. It left me wondering how these incompetent clowns get so much attention for such wacky beliefs?

I know of some of them. They’re total idiots.

But now the curse of the internet algorithm — Gaia must be pumping lots of money into their ad promotion, because now I get tons of pseudoscience ads. I can’t watch YouTube without getting wall-to-wall ads about Atlantis and the Annanuki and Bigfoot and Q. It’s annoying. In for a penny, in for a pound, so I watched a bit of this one. Don’t do it unless you’re a committed masochist!

This young man calmly asserts that he was born in Atlantis to the descendants of the Annanuki.

Now I am doomed. It’s going to be even more continuous foolishness than usual for me on the interwebs. Heed my warning!

Comments

  1. Nemo says

    It’s kind of a shame, because Demi Lovato not long ago recorded this, what I would regard as, at least atheist-friendly song:

    (Maybe I’m reaching, but “I feel stupid when I pray” is a sentiment I just don’t hear often enough.)

  2. gijoel says

    Gregg Baden looks like Wolverine’s Amish cousin. My apologies to the Amish and comic book character Wolverine for that comment.

  3. John Morales says

    Meh. An entertainer who makes money by sponsoring stuff for profit. What a surprise!

    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demi_Lovato#Endorsements)

    Nemo, she’s a declared goddist.
    She may feel stupid when she prays (it’s a song, not a personal claim!), but she prays nonetheless.

    Anyway, point is that there is no such thing as an atheist-friendly goddist, at best they’re tolerant about us.

    (BTW, I didn’t waste my time watching her video)

  4. moxie says

    i always prescribe adblock for those suffering from excessive or inappropriate advertising. it’s the internet equivalent of the mute button on your tv remote control. life is too short to waste a moment of it on advertsing. – dr. moxie

  5. zetopan says

    Dr. Steven M. Greer was an actual MD, but he also taught TM which shows that he is a certifiable loon. And now he is in the UFOlogy promotion business, which is surely more profitable that being a mere medical doctor and he no doubt has far more adoring fans.

    Dr. Joe Dispenza is a chiropractor so he started out as an idiot and now he is far into the “quantum physics” for “explaining” how placebos work so well that no medical assistance is required! I wonder if he has caught COVID 19 yet?

    Small wonder that website is such a festering sewer. We are witnessing the rebirth of a new religion, combining Atlantis and UFOs. Where’s Urantia when you need them? I used to have a photo of a Urantia promoter who was ridiculously overdressed as some kind of fairy queen but, sadly, I can no longer find it.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2006/04/cult-classics/304726/
    https://truthbook.com/jesus-pictures-more/space-photos/jesus-pictures-more
    https://culteducation.com/group/1289-general-information/29190-cults-conspiracies-and-the-utterly-bizarre-history-of-sleepytime-tea.html

  6. John Morales says

    jackal, thanks.
    I should have read the Wikipedia article more closely, so as not to misgender them.

  7. captainblack says

    You do know you can set ignore channel on channels you do not want to see, and set things up so you don’t see most adds on YouTube?

  8. PaulBC says

    I see a lot of ads for Lovato’s show on Peacock, which I’ve been watching since canceling Netflix. It looks like extremely credulous alien hunting, where Lovato goes wide-eyed at any and all claims. I guess there’s a market for it.

  9. Alan G. Humphrey says

    A quick way to stop a lot of the junk following you from your browsing misadventures is to right-click on the link and open a new private* window.

    *private can also be called incognito or something similar depending on browser

  10. microraptor says

    So this is what the bleep these tools have been up to since inflicting what the bleep on us?

  11. birgerjohansson says

    Atlantis?
    The two last vampire novels by Anne Rice have ditched god and devil altogether, and is accounting for various supernatural powers using science-fantasy explanations.
    -Androids created by some extraterrestrials are credited with creating a floating city in the Atlantic some time after the deglaciation, destroyed as they opposed their masters’ plan for humanity. The remaining androids – who finally discover the blood drinkers – are not hostile to humanity, having severed their ties with their creators/erstwhile masters.

  12. Bruce says

    I thought every Freethought or skeptic group had known for decades that we would never be as popular as a cable channel like History Of Ancient Pseudoscience.
    Ooohhhhh, it sounds sciency. I like science-type stuff such as that ancient Atlantis reptile men faked the moon landing with JFK Iii.
    /sarcasm off

  13. birgerjohansson says

    Less insanity.
    Geraldo Rivera sometimes has episodes of integrity, and is attacking other Fox hosts for spreading nonsense about vaccines.

  14. Ridana says

    Just dump your You Tube cookies to reset the recommendation algorithm. You might have to repeat after a few hours to clear out the remnants.

  15. John Morales says

    Ridana, alas, this is 2021. Google knows and so YouTube knows.

    Cookies are a small and optional element in “fingerprinting” — what hardware and browser you use, what you access and when, your IP, etc. are all combined.

  16. Reginald Selkirk says

    I can’t watch YouTube without getting wall-to-wall ads about Atlantis and the Annanuki and Bigfoot and Q.

    Tell me, have Bigfoot and Q ever been seen together in the same room?

  17. mastmaker says

    Let me introduce you to two of my friends:
    1. Adblocker (Highly recommended: Ublock Origin). Blocks ALL ads in every browser you can install it on. Chrome, Edge, Firefox, you name it. I don’t care how much they can profile me (See 2 below). They can’t show me any ads. I know some of you (including my daughter) are morally opposed to it since it deprives SOME websites of SOME revenue. Well, boo hoo. Until someone conclusively proves to me that they can show me ads that are tracking-free, malware-free and intrusion-free, I will block everything. For those who don’t want to use adblockers, at least use the 2nd LPT below. But I strongly suggest using both.

    Browser setting to clean up on quit: In Firefox (The only browser I use for personal use) has a setting: “Settings->Privacy&Security->Delete cookies and site data when Firefox is closed”. Chrome and other browsers have similar setting too. This will remove all cookies and all trackers everytime you quit the browser. Then, you just need to ensure you quit it every week or so, so that you don’t build up lot of baggage, and you start afresh everytime.

  18. Stuart Smith says

    I think it’s good to remember that these people pay for their ads to be displayed a fixed number of times. Each time they are displayed to you, they are not displayed to someone who might actually fall for them. You are like superman out there, catching bullets so that the soft-bodied mortals behind you can walk safely.

  19. says

    birgerjohansson@13 I wonder if Rice has been reading the late Mick Farren’s Victor Renquist books. In the Renquist universe vampires were created by genetic manipulation conducted by aliens thousands of years ago.

  20. PaulBC says

    I have to admit I find ads more amusing than annoying. It’s interesting seeing what algorithms think I want. If my main gripe is being tracked, I’d rather have at least an indirect view into what the algorithms have come up with.

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