YouTube is one of my favorite ways to procrastinate. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen Sainsbury’s 2014 Christmas commercial and a lot of times, I saw it as an ad which means it was followed by a video that I watched afterwards. Good times. Now, because I watch so many videos and I have no filter for what I’ll click on, YouTube starts thinking I’m interested in the weirdest stuff. It’s an algorithm so I can’t expect it to understand that my viewing habits are just an average human being lazy but it becomes a problem when my home page is filled with suggested channels that do not interest me. These suggestions aren’t all bad and I’ve found some good channels this way but they are recurring, painfully recurring and when one does not interest me, it’s just spam. What’s more is that new suggestions won’t show up unless these old ones are made to go away. Here’s how you can tell YouTube to stop showing you a particular kind of video or remove a channel from the suggested ones altogether. This doesn’t require an extension or an add-on so it will work in ANY browser.
Make sure you are signed in. If you use YouTube without signing in, it will continue to learn about your viewing habits based on browsing history and cookies stored in your browser. Unfortunately, teaching YouTube about your preferences is far less effective when you aren’t signed in. If you aren’t signed in all you can do is mark videos that do not interest you. To do so, hover the mouse cursor over the bottom right of a video’s thumbnail and a button will appear. Click it and select the ‘Not interested’ option. That particular video will eventually stop appearing in suggestions. We didn’t have a lot of success with this and YouTube proved to be quite stubborn.
This method is far more effective and applicable to entire channels when you’re signed in. And it is absolute. Sign in and go to your home page. Instead of hovering the mouse cursor over a video (that method works too in case you only want to stop a video from showing up) click the button next to the subscribe button and the number of subscriber for that channel and select the ‘Not interested’ option. The channel will no longer appear on your home page and instead, YouTube will suggest something new for you.
YouTube will still use your search history to gauge your interests so if a particular video (or videos) is resulting in suggestions that you don’t like, the better solution is to remove those videos from your history. This isn’t your browser history but rather your YouTube viewing history. To remove the videos, click History in the right panel and go to the video that you think is effecting the suggestions. Hover the mouse over the top right corner of the video and select ‘Remove from Watch history’and you’re done. This method is great for avoiding movie and/or game spoilers.
You can also give yourself a fresh start by deleting your entire history but that’s a pretty extreme measure. This does not apply to recommended videos that appear on the side when you’re watching a video.