Is YouTube Still a Radicalizer? An Exploratory Study on Autoplay and Recommendation
Markmann S, Grimme C
This work investigates the functioning of YouTube's recommendation system with focus on the autoplay function. The autoplay function was often referred to as "radicalizer" in the past, as it was considered to lead towards more extremist content. By an automated data collection through browser remote control, we simulate different usage scenarios (allowing and disallowing autoplay) with personalized accounts as well as with anonymous users. This leads to multiple recommendation paths, which are analyzed. The presented analyses suggest that while YouTube continues to rely on familiar mechanisms for capturing users' attention, ongoing public criticism with respect to the recommendation system has seemingly led to changes in YouTube's algorithm parameterization and to more cautious recommendations.