While YouTube may publicly deny demoting videos based on their "specific political perspectives,” both right and left wing commentators have noticed a huge drop in recommendations.
In February there has been a massive drop in YouTube recommending content for a select group of creators — from 7.8% recommendation rate to a miniscule 0.4%. That’s a whopping 94.87% drop.
Queensland University of Technology Associate professor Nicolas Suzor announced that “YouTube [has stopped[ recommending alt-right channels.” He described this initiative as a “long-awaited move” achieved by “major changes to [YouTube’s] ‘up next’ recommendations.” Even though the list of so-called “alt-right” bloggers includes everyone from The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro to liberals like Dave Rubin.
Suzor explained that his study of this phenomenon used the “80+ YouTube channels listed by Rebecca Lewis in her report on Alternative Influence Networks on YouTube” as their test case. Based on this study by Lewis, he repeated the erroneous claim that even channels with a conventional conservative ideology such as “a general opposition to feminism, social justice, or left-wing politics,” “from mainstream versions of libertarianism and conservatism” could be framed as “alt-right.” That term has become especially controversial since the 2017 violence at Charlottesville.
The alternate influencers list lumped in a range of people from politically centrist free speech advocates like Joe Rogan and lumped them in with a white supremacist like Richard Spencer. The report even showed “how conservative pundit Ben Shapiro is connected to white nationalist Richard Spencer.” What makes that even more insane is Shapiro is Jewish.
A YouTube spokesperson claimed to CNET that their platform was not targeting “alt-right” videos. "We announced in January that we are reducing recommendations of borderline content or videos that could misinform users in harmful ways. We have not had a chance to thoroughly review this study, however, our recommendation systems are not designed to favor or demote specific misinformation based on specific political perspectives."
YouTubers depend on the platforms recommendation feature to spread their content to new viewers.