Thistle

Thistle

YouTube’s Psychic Wounds

A recent analysis of YouTube’s recommendation engine (“A Longitudinal Analysis of YouTube’s Promotion of Conspiracy Videos”), from the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Information, concludes that the filter-bubble effect declined somewhat following the algorithmic adjustments of 2019 but that now, a year later, “the proportion of conspiratorial recommendations has steadily rebounded.” The authors are troubled by “the ever-growing weaponization of YouTube to spread disinformation and partisan content around the world.” Remember: unlike most news outlets, YouTube is free and open to all contributors—free to watch as much as you want, and free to load up with hours of homegrown creepy content. Anyone with a computer and a quiet space in which to harangue followers can become a David Icke protégé, broadcasting fanaticisms about pedophile reptilian international bankers.

Nicholson Baker