Monday, August 26, 2019

Cornell University: "Auditing Radicalization Pathways on YouTube"; does this paper confuse coincidence with cause?

Cornell University has published a study “Auditing Radicalization Pathways on YouTube” by Manoel Horta Ribeiro, Raphael Ottoni, Robert West, Virgílio A. F. Almeida, Wagner Meira.  

The link for the abstract is here

The article suggests that people who look for conservative material generally considered “alt-lite” (that is, no ethnic separations, but in fact a disdain for recognizing intersectionality and more protected classes) tend in time to be drawn to more radical alt-right material, sometimes involving ethnostates. But some commentators talk about alt-lite as more concerned about “western civilization” or sometimes radical right (which does support democracy).

It’s probable that a fear of expropriation or of forced personal contact or group advocacy and tribalism drives the progression.
Emma Grey Ellis had described “The alt-right’s latest ploy:trolling with false symbols” 
Most of the people getting banned on social media and chased by SJW’s are more on the “alt-lite”.

Carlos Maza shared the Cornell link on Twitter today.  He has since updated it with a similar paper by Rebecca Lewis "Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube", on Data Society, which Carlos says is the source of the aforementioned paper.

Update:  Aug. 28

Timcast did a video examining this paper and found false equivalencies.  People who are centrist center-right mainstream conservatives in the Reagan sense or libertarian, for example, may comment on videos authored by the smaller number of true alt-right or extremist persons merely because they are talking about the same topic.  This false equivalency leads some people to associate Pewdiepie, for example, with the far right because of a few symbols or games (Minecraft) that actual political figures on the right comment on.   The paper mentions Ford Fischer's "News2Share" as "alt-lite" when it is factual and usually takes no positions on what it films (Fischer is a Libertarian Party member.)  Timcast mentioned News2share at least twice in the video (link). The title of Tim Pool's video suggests a malicious intent by the writers of the paper, under the guise of academia.  Pool also says that the definitions of political categories (alt-lite v alt-right) are subjective, and that simply commenting on a topic or subject matter does not mean that the speaker agrees with a video author's political motives.

Kevin Shau discusses this piece on Medium and calls it the product of "another Leftist conspiracy theory", link.

The Rebecca Lewis paper appears (to me, at least), to vulnerable to the same criticism.
Correlation doesn't cause things. We may be giving the university above too much part credit.
This series of Buzzfeednews articles under Rosie Gray's in May 2019 try to imply that Steve Bannon, Milo, Flynn, etc are true white nationalists.  The reasoning seems to be the same as in the studies Pool debunked.  The idea is to convince the reader that Trump is such.  You know, if you make a disparaging comment at a family Thanksgiving dinner (I used to hear these) that implicates those speakers, too. 


Anonymous said...

Are you serious, what a load of crap.

Bill Boushka said...

Tim Pool's video is worth watching