YouTube’s video recommendations exhibit a bias toward left-leaning content in the United States, researchers at New York University Abu Dhabi recently discovered.
While the popular video platform aims to stop users from watching extreme content in general, it does so more aggressively when it comes to right-leaning extreme content, according to the study published in academic journal PNAS Nexus. Additionally, YouTube’s algorithm defaults to suggesting left-leaning content to new users who have yet to watch any videos.
“We find that while the algorithm pulls users away from political extremes, this pull is asymmetric, with users being pulled away from Far Right content stronger than from Far Left,” the researchers state.
After watching 30 extreme- right videos, the recommendations quickly shift to more extreme- left content after watching only two extreme- left videos, according to the study. In contrast, it takes watching 29 extreme- right videos for an extreme- left user to begin receiving more extreme- right video recommendations.
Additionally, left-wing accounts could not switch to getting more right-wing recommendations even after watching 30 videos, while just a single video is enough to cause a right-leaning account to start getting more left-leaning recommendations. (RELATED: RFK Jr Sues Google And YouTube Over Censorship)
YouTube’s recommendation algorithm pulls users away from political extremes, but users are pulled away from Far Right content stronger than from Far Left. the recommendations made by the algorithm skew left even when the user does not have a watch historyhttps://t.co/DtrjvVSOPa
— Matt Grossmann (@MattGrossmann) August 21, 2023
“Furthermore, we show that the recommendations made by the algorithm skew left even when the user does not have a watch history,” the researchers state.
Out of the news and politics videos YouTube recommends to new users, 51% were centrist, while 42% were left-wing and only 6% were right-wing, according to the study. Additionally, 1% were far- left while 0% were far- right.
The researchers logged watching more than eight months of videos and received more than 120,000 distinct video recommendations from YouTube, according to the study.
YouTube will be increasing its censorship of “medical misinformation,” it recently announced. Popular artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT also has a left-wing bias, a Daily Caller News Foundation review found.
YouTube did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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