A recent and grave allegation has surfaced against YouTube. A number of reports and interviews over the last few months has suggested that YouTube makes everything more extreme. For example, if you are a believer of the left-liberal ideology and you are searching YouTube for video content on the same, the algorithms will suggest a number of videos on right-wing conspiracy. And the same thing will happen if you are a believer in the conservative right political ideals. And even without politics, if you are searching TouTube for anything other than music, it’s suggestions will make a number of extreme videos on the same topic come up on your screen.
Renowned communication and researcher Zeynep Tufecki came up with this insight after her informal experiment on YouTube and it was published in the New York Times. She had also shared that YouTube shies away from sharing hard, cold, precise data with researchers under any topic. Some may argue that Tufecki’s experiment was unscientific and therefore unreliable. But when the Wall Street Journal investigated the matter last month with the help of YouTube engineers they also came up with pretty much the same conclusion. So now we have two separate sources which investigated the matter independently and came up with the result that YouTube makes everything a little more sensational than it already is.
But then why does YouTube do it? It surely cannot be a conspiracy spearheaded by YouTube to bring about an early end to the world! Recent researches had also shown that Fake news spreads much faster on Twitter. This is a problem with human psychology and YouTube’s policy of making money from ads which means that it provides people with suggestions that it knows will hook them. Over the years YouTube algorithm has figured out that people watch sensational content more and adapted accordingly. It is to make money that YouTube makes everything a little more extreme.