Zeynep Tufekci, Associate Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and regular New York Times contributor, recently authored an op-ed titled, “YouTube, the Great Radicalizer.” Tufekci analyzes the impact of the website’s recommendation algorithm, which suggests content that is more and more intense than what viewers initially choose to watch.
“It seems as if you are never ‘hard core’ enough for YouTube’s recommendation algorithm,” Tufekci writes. “It promotes, recommends and disseminates videos in a manner that appears to constantly up the stakes. Given its billion or so users, YouTube may be one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century.”
This isn’t the first time Tufekci has expressed concern about the impact of a popular social media site’s algorithmic decision making in the Times. She raises similar issues in “Facebook’s Ad Scandal Isn’t a ‘Fail,’ It’s a Feature” and “The Real Bias Built In at Facebook,” among others.