Sunday, June 09, 2019

"The Making of a YouTube Radical": NYTimes booklet exaggerates claims that some people are far-right but is correct about how the site's algorithms augment extreme views

Here’s a particularly shocking “booklet” offered on the front-page of the New York Times on Pride Sunday, “The Making of a YouTube Radical” with the subtitle, “How the Site’s Algorithms Payed into the Hands of the Far Right”, by Kevin Roose.

Roose is author of “The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University” (2010, Grand Central. refers to Liberty University in Lynchburg VA) and “Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits” (2014, also G.C.)

The narrative presents the history of Caleb Cain who found himself drawn into a “decentralized cult” of the far right.

It’s true that YouTube’s (and Facebook’s) algorithms gave more extreme views a chance to bring in money because of the lack of gatekeepers.   Some previously little discussed ideas (“replacement”) get attention from the right.  And the far Left becomes combative in an attempt to completely silence topics that it perceives could lead to violence against members of protected classes.  We saw that last week with #Voxadpocalypse”.

But the Roose article, as placed online, shows very hyperbolic sub-headlines calling various persons “far right”  when they are more like normal conservatives, and various ideological slurs against, for example, anti-feminism.

Tim Pool noted in a tweet today that this article would be OK as an op-ed, but not as front page news. He then notes an irony in the narrative of Caleb's re-conversion.  
Cade Metz et al has a parallel article on how A.I. could be weaponized to spread “disinformation”.

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