YouTube May Push Users to More Radical Views Over Time, A New Paper Argues

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Youtube, a firm that is growing over the years, is becoming one of the most significant investments made by the famous Google. The clips and music videos are ranking Youtube among the most loved social media platforms all over the world. More captivating is the fact that it is now featured in Google searches, including other SEO platforms. To make it more user-friendly and free of instigative and abusive posts, the Youtube channel team is always changing the rules and regulations by which the users have no option but to abide. 

However, like any other social media channel, Youtube has faced challenges in the recent past. Recently, stories have had it that Youtube might be unintentionally posting videos for pedophiles. Investigations towards these sites are ongoing. You tube’s popularity has also been linked to the spike in the right-wing radicalization in Brazil.  But mostly, the conflict between Carlos Maza, the video host, and Steven Crowder, the right-wing pundit’s has been trending the most. Whether having a million followers guarantees you to call another Youtube user’ names’ is the conflict, and it clearly showed the difference in what Youtube guidelines say is allowed and what is allowed. Steven Crowder’s fame helped him get away with almost everything compensating for any losses in revenue resulting from the demonetization of his channel. 

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The Youtube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, in her Youtube quarterly letter, defended the idea of freedom of posting every kind of video. In her letter, she admits that committing to openness in a difficult task. That means that you sometimes have to leave outside the mainstream, controversial or even offensive content. She believes that the people’s perspectives are a keep them more informed and stronger despite the disagreements in some of those views. She does not forget to state how it is her number one priority to enforce the guidelines allowing speech diversity and the steps they are taking to ensure an engaged community. Managing the content on their platform protects the users and creators and also ensures nurturing of all the good that comes from the Youtube platform. The CEO’s letter has links for the right Youtube users, which is a good thing, but it also sidesteps the central issue of debate- harassment. 

You tube’s community guidelines do not allow content and behavior that has any intention of harassing, threatening, or bullying others.  But according to Carlos Maza and Steven Crowder’s conflict, Youtube sited that context is the factor that could determine whether the video stays up or not and therefore because Steven Crowder’s videos are criticizing the media, they are allowed to stay. The primary debate Youtube should be having is about the policies advertised by the company vs. the ones enforced rather than debating on open vs. closed platforms.

A paper- Auditing Radicalization Pathways on Youtube- from Brazil and Switzerland’s researchers, documents the way Youtube has captured a broad audience for good thinkers. This paper tries to measure Youtube’s ability to nurture radicalization by tracking its commenters for over 11 years. These researchers, using the Anti-Defamation League and Data Society, together with their research, grouped the conservative Youtube user into three categories; the dark intellectual web, the ‘alt-lite, and the ‘alt-right.’ In their study, they discovered that the people that begin by commenting on less extreme channels on Youtube end up commenting on more extreme Youtube channels over time and this is a clear indication of a radicalization channel.

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However, the fact that a person comments on extremist videos does not necessarily imply that they have shifted to become extremists themselves as acknowledged by the authors. Data though suggests that the platform is pushing more people to the right over time which is a fact during the time of rising extremist violence. Many other media forces are doing the same thing by pushing people rightward, including cable news and conservative radio talk of which some are likely to be more effective as compared to Youtube.

The CEO also pledged to get rid of the extremist content on Youtube more effectively as time goes by, where she does not forget to reiterate the pledge of updating Youtube’s policy for creator-on-creator harassment. With his 727million views, the number one creator in the Brazilian researchers’ category of ‘alt-light’ creators dwarfed the subscriber count of his closest competitor, Steven Crowder. Apart from Carlos Maza, Steven Crowder’s evil influence seems to have spread far enough.

In other news, foreign agents especially, are taking advantage of social media to recruit assets. Western counterintelligence officials in the United States, France, Germany, and Britain have stated that LinkedIn has become the main recruiting ground. Warnings about foreign agents approaching users on the site have been issued Chinese government operatives being the most active. Because of this, social media platforms- Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have confirmed the deletion of accounts spreading false information on the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests where Twitter removed almost 1000 accounts.

Worried about the targeting of voter registration ahead of the coming 2020 election, the US government fears a ransomware attack. For the same reasons, an inquiry into Google jobs has been made by the EU regulators. Alex Stamos, the ex-Facebook chief security officer, is said to open talks of whether social media platforms are ready for the year 2020. All the social media platforms- Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, among many others, are at a high stake.

To help governments keep in touch with users in case of any emergencies, Facebook has launched a ‘local alert feature which has been tested in more than 300 cities. Since Facebook and Google companies have been bad for the United States journalism industry generally, Sanders says that his strategy would be taking stronger antitrust action against them. While Thompson calls for a detailed discussion of the pros and cons of sharing and collecting data.

The Social Media and Democracy Research Grants program was founded on understanding the relationship that exists between Facebook and governing, but since Facebook has delayed the project indefinitely, the funders are pushing the Social Science Research Council to end it if no data is shared with the researchers by 30th September.

Finally, Michael Rybakov went through with recreating the reaction emoji on Facebook using Mark Zuckerberg’s photo and a disembodied neural network which came out intimidating and also are found as a Telegram Sticker pack.

Date: October 15, 2019 / Categories: YouTube, / Author: Kam R


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