1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Are Youtube algorithms leading to a resurgence of the right?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by VincentHanna, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. BowdonUK


    Joined: Jan 17, 2016

    Posts: 3,065

    I think there are two questions in this.

    1. Does youtube encourage extreme positions?

    I think Youtube, as well as many other social media platforms do encourage people to go to the extremes of their beliefs by eventually promoting any lunatic on the fringe to your inbox. This might sound strange but I think having choice promotes a more hardline position, because people will mostly tend to choose videos that are reflecting their own views. Back in the day on the TV pre-2000 when we only had 5 channels we were forced to watch things we wouldn't normally have chosen because there was nothing else on tv. I used to watch the tv show Desmonds, which is a comedy, I think on channel 4, about an afro-caribbean barber shop. I recently noticed the series being played on one of the channels we get on Sky, called BET (Black Entertainment Television). So now for the majority of non-black people these days will never see that show.

    2. Does youtube favour the far-right?

    I think this comes down to which side of the left/right paradigm is using the platform properly. Most of the left wing people I see are more reactionary. So they protest more and tend not to be interested in talking to people they deem as 'alt-right nazis', so they are more likely to end up in an echo-chamber. But also they tend to watch the right-wing videos to critique them. Where-as on the right, they will talk about issues but also make suggestions to change things. They also try to interview people on the left too. A good example of this is Steven Crowder who has his 'Change My Mind' series, were he talks to people specifically opposed to his views. Where is the similar thing on the left side? So it's obvious people are going to tune in more to the right leaning videos because they are the ones setting the pace. Btw, before people point out specific examples of where a left-wing person does interview people, I know a few too (and I subscribe to them). But they are in a severe minority on the left.

    If the left wants to be equally as favoured then they need to stop being reactionary and start producing their own ideas and interviewing their ideologically opponents instead of supporting stupid ideas like 'punch a nazi'.
  2. OspreyO


    Joined: Dec 12, 2006

    Posts: 3,176

    Is it that the left is less commercial.

    YouTube is whore when it comes to content. It chases money over quality.
  3. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,450

    I can't watch any of the politics shows on you tube. I just find what little I stayed across to be biased wither left or right. But I am also use to that from other media and can deal with that, I like politics but just find this stuff really boring I suppose rather than have an issue with the bias.

    Really it is rare to come across a really good communicator and if you do regardless of the brand of politics they may endorse they are going to say something interesting and original and something you have not thought about before.

    I suppose with politics I mostly deal with it through discussion in real life. Most folks I know have an interest in politics and that discussion is utterly different from a lot of what I read on line. People have strong views and don't agree but their views often involve far more criticism of the parties they vote for particularly in regard to party leadership.
    I suspect with you tube I expect something a bit more true to every- day discussion but I don't see it.

    Maybe it is but its life elsewhere and not where I live.

    Little I have seen is the standard sort of die hard no surrender politics that seems to be common online. But I may not be able to catch subtle aspects as it is certainly culturally different so I may not be getting it.

    Sure good content exists just had a bad first impression and real time discussion with family and friends is far more fun.
  4. neckbeardthethird

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 9, 2018

    Posts: 1,137

    Watch one Joe Rogan podcast and your recommended list is going to being chock full of right wing content for weeks to come, not even kidding. I created a new youtube account recently, one of the first things I watched was the Bernie Sanders podcast on Rogan and yet suddenly im getting bombarded with Ben Shapiro & Daddy Peterson videos in the recommended list or whatever its called now.

    Im not sure Crowder is a good example, he has absolute no intention of anyone ever changing his mind and has spent the last two years ducking debates from the likes of Sam Seder, David Packman, Kyle Kulinski and anyone else he knows will humiliate him and expose him what he so obviously is. There's a video on youtube of him debating some kid on socialism and the kid is way more articulate and educated on the subject and Crowder just can't handle it and starts being snidey towards him. It really shows Crowder up for the weaselly disingenuous pos that he is. He doesn't want to debate anyone with actual ideas, just screechy college students who he can 'pwn' so he looks cool to his viewers.

    It's understandable though why he ducks proper debate every time he's challenged. Just look at what happened to Ben Shapiro in his first ever interview with a proper journalist... Crowders infinitely thicker than Shapiro so it would be an absolute trainwreck provided the journalist did their job.

    Eh ? If being reactionary is a problem for the left why on earth are all the biggest right wing youtube channels the absolute definition of 'reactionary' ? Paul Joseph Watson, Steven Crowder, Dave Rubin, Stefan Molyneux, Alex Jones, Sargon of Akkad etc are all textbook reactionaries... and that's why they are popular.

    Being a reactionary is not a 'lefty' or 'righty' thing, it's a human thing, we've all probably been guilty of it at some point... the difference is we don't rely on being a reactionary 24/7 to earn our income the way all these faux outrage merchants on both sides do. There is nowhere near as much money to be made in being reasonable on youtube.

    I also find it a bit bizarre that you go on about the left needing to produce their own ideas ? Its almost as if you're living in the opposite of reality. The left is traditionally progressive whereas the right is typically regressive. Please name some of these cutting edge new ideas from the right wing.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  5. BowdonUK


    Joined: Jan 17, 2016

    Posts: 3,065

    I'm not sure if people on the left agree or can see, but just being right wing doesn't mean you're more extreme than the government. In my opinion certain ideologies have been labeled left and right when they are really something different. There are similarities in some positions of the left/right. For example tradionally both the left/right are anti-capitalist to some degree. Capitalism is the love of making money. People on the right also protest this too. But they tend to call out the government and officials, while most of the left seem to call out other youtubers or ordinary people and blame them, i.e. this alt-right rubbish.

    I'm not a fan of Sargon. But lets take him as an example. The rape joke. I'll state first that I don't agree with the way he went about making his point. But in his own way he was protesting for free speech by saying the most outlandish thing. Now the issue that he was highlighting, where are the left wing version of Sargon? Challenging the government, especially the big brother laws and our increasing restrictive speech? Instead they attack Sargon all day, like he is an important person. It's bad enough listening to Sargon. But to have the left make constant videos about him gets boring very fast.

    I noticed in your post you named a couple of the people I watch from the left that I'd consider exceptions to what I've said, I enjoy David Packman, and Kyle Kulinski. They both make some really good points. I like Joe Rogan podcasts too, the Bernie one, Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang.

    My personal world view is that we won't get anywhere politically unless we have the best of left and right talking to each other and exchanging ideas in a good spirit of mutual understanding. I think most people want roughly the same outcome. It's just a matter of us all getting there.

    I can agree on that. I have some commentators on my youtube list and while I can understand what they mean, they go about it in a wrong way. Though I've subscribed to Sargon I've not watched any of his videos since the european elections. I only watched them because he was going out in to public and debating people, which I thought was brave to do that. But since then I've not watched any of his videos. If others didnt keep mentioning his name, the guy would fade back in to obscurity.
  6. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,450

    Joe Rogan I have watched. I also think he is a seriously good communicator. Although again watched him a couple of times, just got bored. But wither you like or dislike him he clearly has a serious talent I think.

    I was surprised that I had never heard of him before. I wonder if that suggests a bias in more main stream media. Never read any criticism/ interviews/ reviews about him or his show.

    Zargon and the left trotting out videos attacking him. I would take the N.Y. times article with a pinch of salt as I suspect a degree of commercial/ elitist/ class bias may be a general factor. But it may not have got everything wrong.

    It does suggest you tube algorithm favors videos that promote controversy and provocation. With the videos attacking Zargon that may be down to the fact it is a cheap way of getting hits/ viewers/ subscribers if you are lazy/ don't have original content. I suspect that may not just be a left wing thing.

    I think were the N.Y Times article gets a bit debatable is that it has a tendency to suggest its the algorithm altering and encouraging this behavior. It may simple be its the algorithm detecting that people like gossip and when they turn you tube on want to watch some froth rather than some elite Ivy League university trained Journalist banging on and on, much to the regret of the N.Y. times.
  7. StarShock

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Nov 6, 2005

    Posts: 1,672

    Hatred anger and fear sells, and boy oh boy do the right love to play into that. "Hate those people over there because you are special and they are trying to take that from you!" Unfortunately draws a lot more attention than "we should probably all be working a little harder to fix our own problems"
  8. Hotwired


    Joined: Aug 17, 2009

    Posts: 7,126

    Sounds like red top journalism then.
  9. Caracus2k


    Joined: Jan 27, 2009

    Posts: 5,120

    Youtube is just a stark example of the clash that occurs when the general populace, who are often more conservative /'right wing' then their media, uses a platform with elements of market choice guiding the output promoted.

    Que panicked execs being caught on camera saying how they are working on avoiding any 'situations' where a media favoured candidate get beaten by a populist opponent....

    The last euro election voting intention poll in SC gave an indication as to how far removed the average SC contributer is from the general populace. It's therefore not that unexpected to see a thread like this here....

    I don't think fears of you tube radicalising people into becoming 'alt right' are that well founded.

    The Internet is full of sites we're people can express far more extremist views then would be allowed to persist on you tube both the 'left' and the 'right'.

    You tube will partly die if it is reduced to just mainstream media content and non poltical stuff. With a large section of their current user base voting with their feet (or rather clicks / taps)
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  10. mid_gen


    Joined: Dec 20, 2004

    Posts: 8,711

    This. I don't need to get political news from some paid mouthpiece straining for controversy to collect ad revenue. I have a (mostly) full functioning brain so I can get the relatively unvarnished details from the likes of the BBC, quickly fact check whatever nonsense some political goon is spouting if I want to, and then make up my own mind.

    The nature of online ad-tracking means that all these social media outlets are desperately trying to drive and convince people into demographic buckets to better target their ad spend....and that's all they ever will do. Pitching the entire political spectrum into left vs right is a depressingly effective weapon in this fight with the masses that are quite happy living in ignorance if it gives them something to hate and blame their woes and failures on.
  11. D.P.


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 30,355

    One of the inherit biases is that center and left leaning people prefer to be presented by hard facts, evidence, logically sound reasoning and with a interesting and new narrative on a subject. This makes any kind of production for center and left leaning audiences much more expensive and time consuming to produce. The right and especially far-right are happy with regurgitated soundbites that reinforce their opinion rather than make them question their understanding. They don't value facts or evidence, don't need any logic and can happily except wild conspiracy theories. Any idiot can produce junk for the hard of thinking, which means you-tube gets filled with these perverse right-wing fake political garbage. As others mentioned, do to the way such platforms obviously aim to maximize viewership and hence ad-revenue, the platforms create a positive feed-back loop.The same also applies to the far left, but the far left are few in numbers and completely swamped by far right so the end effect is platforms like youtube do end up promoting far-right over far left audiences.
  12. BowdonUK


    Joined: Jan 17, 2016

    Posts: 3,065

    It is amazing how close some of the language people use would be right at home in the Nazi-era. Demonising whole groups of people as thick and stupid.

    We're talking about how the different sides use Youtube. Not demonising either side.

    The reason why the right are more successful. Let's take an example. 2 transgender youtubers, Blaire White on the right, and Contrapoints on the left. Blaire interviews people on the left, right, and centre. Contrapoints only interviews people on the left, the same side as her, these days. She used to interview right wing people too. But she got attacked from her own side for "giving nazis a platform". In other words the left these days generally push the ideology of guilt by association. So they never come out of their echo chamber. That leads to the demonisation we see some people writing.

    If you're only interviewing people of your same ideology, then your audience is going to be niche. When Blaire interviewed that Jessica Yaniv, the whole community, left, right and centre, sat and watched. That is why the right is leading in the algorithms.
  13. Nasher


    Joined: Nov 22, 2006

    Posts: 14,722

    I swear I just saw Hitler walk by one of the videos.
  14. BowdonUK


    Joined: Jan 17, 2016

    Posts: 3,065

    Me too. He seems friendly.. waves a lot with his right arm.
  15. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,450

    Part of the Brazilian presidents rise to power was to claim on you tube that the Nazis were a liberal/ left wing party.

    You tube refer to this type of thing as 'authoritarian content ' admit they have had an issue with it and say they have resolved it.

    The rise of the far right in Brazil, suggests you tube may not entirely have resolved its issues here.

    The Brazilian right claim that you tube was central to its winning strategy.

    You tube, and far right Brazilian you tube stars are according to the New York times are becoming the go to source for information, for a generation of young Brazilians, fed on a diet of conspiracy theories and what seem to be instructions to monitor, intimidate and report those who may be expressing views the movement does not agree with.

    No one seems to be suggesting that you tube should be censoring content but that it is inadvertently promoting extreme content. Brazil is an example of a state moving to the extreme of the right.

    The issue is extremism though wither that be left/ right/ religious/ whatever.

    The claim, you tube has not fixed it's system and extremist content that uses strong emotional appeals, hate, fear, anger etc.

    Its not a left right thing its an extremist thing, when you take the bias googles off at least.
    Also how much is hype how much is grounded in reality is not clear to see as the articles are from one study and research is minimal.

    The claim that without promotion from you tube, this media would not have become popular, seems somewhat debatable. Although clearly you tube should not be promoting this kind of material however inadvertently.
  16. BowdonUK


    Joined: Jan 17, 2016

    Posts: 3,065

    I also agree that without youtube or any other social media sites minority views wouldn't get the projection that they now have.

    I agree 100% that extremist views have been disproportionately projected with an ease never before seen previously. But I think its wrong to say its only right wing views. The whole LGBTQ+ issues have also been promoted. Trans-sexuality promoted, Green issues promoted. All talking points that werent talked about much 20+ years ago.

    If I turn on the average video that I know is a far right video, I know they will be talking about some complaint about a government or private company, usually trying to stop their free speech. In some way I can relate to free speech videos because government or private businesses messing with free speech should be an aware subject for us all.

    If I turn on the average video that I know is a far left video, I know they more than likely will be complaining about Sargon, Spencer or the alt-right/lite. If someone doesn't know who Sargon, Spencer or the alt-right/lite are then these videos are irrelevant.

    If the far-left want to get their videos up the algorithms then they need to start taking their conversations in to the public space and invite people of opposite ideologies to them. People like David Pakman and Kyle Kulinski are probably the highest rated on the left side as they do engage with their opposite commentators. It was interesting that when Pakman was a guest on The Young Turks channel, Ana Kasparian tried to demonise Joe Rogan and tried to get Pakman to play along. Respect to Pakman that he didn't and defended other people having different views, even if he thinks they are wrong.

    On the left side I also like Kevin Logan, who's a British left wing commentator, because he also engages people of other ideologies. He's probably a good example of someone who would normally be rated low in youtube ratings. But because he engages everyone he has a higher profile than would be expected.

    I've named quite a few left wing commentators that I like and respect, even if I don't agree with all their points. But I've noticed people on the left tend to be very reluctant to name some right wing commentators they watch and respect. I find that interesting.
  17. Mr Badger


    Joined: Dec 27, 2009

    Posts: 6,622

    You appear to give a lot of weight to whether someone with a political YouTube channel interviews people that have differing ideologies. How about their actual whether content is factual and based on data, evidence, expert opinion etc? I would place more value on whether the argument someone is making is robust and logical, rather than thinking a left wing conspiracy nut is worth listening to because they also interview right wing conspiracy nuts.
  18. purplesky


    Joined: Oct 4, 2009

    Posts: 403

    Well it doesn't seem to be working based on the amount of propaganda that gets pushed out by the BBC. It didn't get known as the British Biased Corporation for nothing. The BBC are the UK governments mouthpiece, and if it's in the government's best interests (note, not the people's interests), it will be spun, no matter what impartiality rules are supposed to be in operation.

    I think what people need to do these days is use their brain and think for themselves. Anything you see or read, no matter where or which country it's from needs to be questioned. What is the agenda? Does someone have a vested interest?
  19. BowdonUK


    Joined: Jan 17, 2016

    Posts: 3,065

    I do. But the left I'm talking about aren't talking facts, based on data, evidence or expert opinion. They are talking about Sargon, Richard Spencer or the alt-right constantly etc, and they make up the majority of the left these days.

    That's why the left is failing, big time these days. Yet they constantly blame it on everyone else.

    Youtube is about engagement. Only a very niche group is going to listen to someone sat in an echo chamber talking about anything.

    Some of the posts on this thread are proving my point. It seems instead of talking about ways the left could improve their position in the youtube algorithms some can't resist blaming the right.
  20. StriderX


    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 22,444

    I guess this thread will do.


    Awks, but no it's the liberals that are the problem, not the people clearly planning in "secret" violent acts against people purely based on skin colour or political affiliation, whereby self professed free-speech activists flat out ignores violence on their side of the aisle.

    I know dailybeast is a bit suspect for it's leaning, but it's objectively better than it's contemporaries.

    And to think people defended him.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019