The Gangnam Style Problem

Created: March 14, 2023
Updated: August 10, 2023

The Gangnam Style Problem is a real problem to do with autoplay on YouTube.

It’s the name YouTube engineers gave to the way the auto-play algorithm worked.

If a user were to start any random video, they’d next be served a slightly more popular video on a related subject. It was probably slightly more generic.

Left forever, they’d end up on Gangnam Style: the most popular video at the time.

The problem for engagement

This caused an engagement problem. A user would see videos that were more general in theme – more generic. They’d get bored

The Fix: Flip the order. Autoplay something more niche.

A user would no longer go to Gangnam Style. They’d be recommended more and more niche content.

Critics say this is a problem with #algorithms. They serve more and more extreme content, gradually changing the viewers opinions to be more extreme.