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Jeffrey Sachs
More evidence of YouTube rightwing radicalization. In a study of >79 million YouTube comments, et. al. shows that a high % of people who now comment on Alt-Right videos used to comment exclusively on IDW or Alt-lite videos.
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Jeffrey Sachs Aug 26
Replying to @manoelribeiro
These are the key figures, which show what % of Alt-Right commenters in a given year were commenting on Alt-lite or IDW vids (but not Alt-Right ones) the previous year. You can see in Fig. 4 that Alt-lite is a bigger vector than the IDW, but viewers of both were most vulnerable.
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Jeffrey Sachs Aug 26
Replying to @manoelribeiro
For example, about 40% of people who commented on Alt-Right videos in 2018 were commenting only on IDW or Alt-lite videos in previous years. And in case you were wondering, these comments were overwhelmingly positive or neutral. Of 900 randomly sampled, only 5 were critical.
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Jeffrey Sachs Aug 26
Replying to @manoelribeiro
Moreover, the authors argue that the three communities increasingly share an overlapping audience of YouTube commenters. So while IDW has historically represented a smaller pipeline to the Alt-Right, this is changing.
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Jeffrey Sachs Aug 26
Replying to @manoelribeiro
You can read the paper at the link above. See also this thread from one of the authors summarizing their findings.
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Jeffrey Sachs Aug 26
Replying to @JeffreyASachs
Just to clear up a potential confusion, I mean here that 40% of Alt-Right commenters in 2018 started out in a previous year (between 2012 and 2017) commenting solely on Alt-lite or IDW videos.
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Jeffrey Sachs Aug 26
Replying to @JeffreyASachs
Yes, this doesn’t tell us the probability thar an Alt-lite/IDW commenter will be radicalized. Only that of those radicalized, a high % started out commenting on Alt-lite or IDW videos. An important point to keep in mind.
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Jeffrey Sachs Aug 26
Replying to @JeffreyASachs
Since a lot of IDW folks are getting their backs up about this, I want to be clear: This study does NOT say that IDW figures/supporters are sympathetic to the Alt-Right. It also does NOT say that a large % of IDW supporters have or will migrate to the Alt-Right. However...
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Jeffrey Sachs Aug 26
Replying to @JeffreyASachs
...What it IS saying is that if you comment on Alt-Right videos now, chances are good that you used to (or still do) comment on IDW videos as well. And moreover, that YouTube's recommendation algorithm probably directed you there, as the links are quite strong.
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Jeffrey Sachs Aug 26
Replying to @JeffreyASachs
That's it. There's no reason to get all defensive. But there's also no reason to dismiss the study as meaningless. If you're an ardent fan of the IDW, you should be asking yourself some hard questions right now about why the Alt-Right audience overlaps so heavily with your own.
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Peter Mahoney Aug 26
how are these categorizations made? Seems like Ben Shapiro and Joe Rogan shouldn’t be in the same bin
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Peter Mahoney Aug 26
I’d be more interested in seeing which “IDW” channel views lead to alt-right comments, and how the YouTube algorithm/suggestion features contribute to this phenomenon
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Manoel Aug 26
I think you'll get answers to both these more detailed questions in the paper :)
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Peter Mahoney Aug 26
So an unofficial website linking the two channels?
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Manoel Aug 26
There is also a New York Times article, which coined the term.
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Manoel Aug 26
I kinda get your frustration... categorizing things we loose some of the nuance, but its important to get the bigger picture. We tried our best to minimize discrepancies and make it as solid as possible, but it is indeed not perfect
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alex, a horrible goose Aug 26
I don’t know about Rogan, but I’ve seen most of the people listed in the IDW piece (Shapiro, Peterson, Rubin) subsequently embrace that label on their own.
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Peter Mahoney Aug 26
Agreed. But recently some grouped with the IDW have begun distancing themselves from the movement (I.e. Harris, Rogan) and I think the broad stroke conclusions of this paper fail to capture this nuance. More of an issue with the label “IDW” than the paper itself
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Tim Pool Aug 26
the main problem I see is the intrinsic bias from the researchers and a substantial lack of knowledge about youtube culture Most comments seem to ignore the video and make a comment about the broad topic the channels ideology is irrelevant What youve found is a network branch
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Tim Pool Aug 26
The control channels are ideologically left and establishment as well, meaning this network branch is likely not to get recommended those channels. The core issue with youtube is shared subject matter, not whether its for or against the ideology
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Tim Pool Aug 26
In this network they often talk about identity politics, the mainstream channels dont Someone is going to want to watch videos on X so they get X channels This is evidence that people like the same subjects thats literally all that was found
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Tim Pool Aug 26
Now control for video ideology, left, right, libertarian, authoritarian then track comments Are comments about something specific in the video or the subject matter? For instance Ben Shapiro and Rubin disagree on tons of issues, not most but many. Are they pro LGBT or Anti?
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