Separating fact from fiction: How misinformation spread on YouTube after Chemnitz demonstrations

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash



In late August, people searching YouTube for news about anti-immigrant demonstrations following the death of a German man in Chemnitz, might have initially seen some videos from mainstream news sources, but not many. Berlin-based researcher Ray Serrato found that many more videos were coming from right-leaning sources, or drifting into conspiracy theory.

We spoke to Serrato about the research he did in combing through 646 videos, the vast majority of which he said were published in 2018, “basically within the week after this incident in Chemnitz happened.” We ask him how YouTube’s video recommendation algorithm works, and if the social media platform should be playing an active role in combating the spread of misinformation.

After the events of Chemnitz, Ray Serrato posted this Twitter thread with his initial findings:





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