July 15, 2024

Social Media: Is YouTube radicalizing its users?

Social Media: Is YouTube radicalizing its users?

YouTube doesn’t make it easy to search

In general, says Sabrina Heike-Kessler of the University of Zurich, scientists are having some difficulty looking for user behavior on YouTube. The world of communication says, according to the Science Media Center, that if the company makes its data available to scientists, research questions will be easier, faster, healthier and more accurate to answer.

Kessler and experts at German universities who were not involved in Chen’s research and who were asked by the Science Media Center for their opinion consider the study methodologically clean and conclusive. However, some of them point out that the small percentage of extreme users can only affect a manageable group.

(strength) algorithm

“Even if a small but convinced group of people is introduced to more problematic content through algorithms, this is also a huge challenge for democracy,” explains Josephine Schmidt of the Center for Advanced Internet Studies in Bochum. In addition, personal recommendations in particular can fuel extremist worldviews. Political scientist Kerd Knopfer of the Free University of Berlin also asserts that six percent of the group of people consuming extremist content, “extrapolated to the total number[of users]is a significant number”. “Such ‘minorities’ are often more active and politically committed than average.”

In the whole discussion, it is also important to discern exactly why people espouse extremist views and how they are fed into them. However, the problem is not with the algorithm itself. Fabian Prochazka, a communications scientist at Harvard University, says the study “confirms what research has increasingly shown for several years: It’s not algorithms that draw people to extremist content online, but people with an extremist mindset who seek out such content themselves.” University of Erfurt. “However, platforms like YouTube provide the perfect ecosystem for this, enabling people with an extremist mindset to provide themselves with relevant content.”

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