Studying the long-term consequences of personalization.

The Personalization Experiment

This extension makes slight modifications to your YouTube recommendation feed, and records how you interact with it. No personal information about you is tracked and collected. For once, it’s not you being tracked / analyzed by YouTube, it’s you who tracks YouTube. It is part of an academic research project into the long-term effects of recommendation.


This extension investigates the influence of personalized recommendations on user engagement and interaction on YouTube. By installing our study-specific web extension, you’ll be participating in a research experiment that alters YouTube recommendations, helping us understand how this personalization affects user choices. The extension, designed to prioritize your privacy, doesn’t collect personal data and is committed to minimal interference with your usual user experience. It only records data associated with changes in user engagement linked to modifications in recommendation personalization. The valuable data obtained will be used to assess the long-term impact of personalization on user behavior, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of digital content platforms and their influence on user behavior.

What does the extension do?

Our web extension serves as a key tool for the research, working subtly in the background while you interact with YouTube. Its primary function is to record and slightly alter the personalized recommendations provided by YouTube. These alterations might involve replacing a portion of your personalized video suggestions with generic ones, while maintaining a minimal impact on your browsing experience. The extension also collects non-personal information related to your interaction with these recommendations, such as which videos you clicked on, the nature and quantity of videos present on the recommendation list during the click, and the timestamp of your interactions. It’s important to note that the extension operates exclusively on YouTube and doesn’t track or record any of your activities outside of this platform. It’s designed with your privacy and user experience in mind, ensuring the research doesn’t intrude on your usual YouTube browsing.

How does it work?

Once you’ve installed our web extension on your Chrome or Firefox browser, it operates quietly in the background while you carry on with your usual YouTube browsing. The extension springs into action when you start watching videos on YouTube, subtly tweaking the arrangement of your video recommendations. It carefully collects statistical data about the modifications and the ensuing user engagement patterns. This data collection includes non-personal information related to:

  1. The position of the videos you clicked on within the recommendation list,
  2. The number of videos and the nature of recommendations present on the page where the click occurs, and
  3. The timestamp of your clicks.

All this information is securely transmitted to our server, ensuring your privacy and data security while providing valuable insights into the influence of personalization on user behavior.