New Research Reveals YouTube Has a Left Wing Bias

As one of the premier content distribution systems in the world, YouTube has a lot of control over what type of videos people end up seeing online. There has been a long standing assumption that YouTube’s algorithm doesn’t necessarily favor one political camp or the other, but in spite of the fact that this is the case, new evidence has come to light that suggests that YouTube is more biased than might have been the case otherwise.

This comes from research published in PNAS Nexus which sheds some light on how YouTube’s algorithm governs people’s content feeds. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that 75% of the videos that people see on YouTube are recommended by the algorithm. When the researchers that contributed to this study created a series of bots with no account histories, the recommendations that they were provided came largely from center left sources.

Such a trend can be concerning because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up trapping people in echo chambers. Social media as well as the internet in general can often prevent people from coming across competing points of view. This can create a false sense of confidence that strips a lot of nuance from discussions that are being had with all things having been considered and taken into account.

Furthermore, escaping the left wing bias took far longer even if the viewer in question was primarily trying to watch content from outside of this political ideology. The desire to control misinformation and fake news as well as dangerous ideas in the right wing might have led YouTube to restrict access to a wide variety of content.

It will be interesting to see how this study impacts the actions of YouTube’s competitors. TikTok has been attempting to cater to a larger audience for quite some time now, and providing less biased news could be a way for the platform to get its foot in through the door and give YouTube a run for its money.

Read next: Facebook and YouTube Are Still the Most Popular Platforms in the World, New Survey Reveals
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