A Free Market in Extreme Speech: Scientific Racism and Bloodsports on YouTube

Emilie de Keulenaar, Marc Tuters, Cassian Osborne-Carey, Daniël Hans Marinus Jurg, Ivan Kisjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Around 2018, YouTube became heavily criticized for its radicalizing function by allowing farright actors to produce hateful videos that were in turn amplified through algorithmic recommendations. Against this ‘algorithmic radicalization’ hypothesis, Munger and Phillips (2019, 2020) argued that far-right radical content on YouTube fed into audience demand, suggesting researchers adopt a ‘supply and demand’ framework. Navigating this debate, our paper deploys novel methods for examining radicalization in the language of far-right pundits and their audiences within YouTube’s so-called ‘Alternative Influence Network’ (Lewis, 2018). To that end, we operationalize the concept ‘extreme speech’—developed to account for ‘the inherent ambiguity of speech contexts’ online (Pohjonen and Udupa, 2017)—to an analysis of a right-wing ‘Bloodsports’ debate subculture that thrived on the platform at the time. Highlighting the topic of ‘race realism', we develop a novel mixed-methods approach: repurposing the far-right website Metapedia as a corpus to detect unique terms related to the issue. We use this corpus to analyze the transcripts and comments from an archive of 950 right-wing channels,
collected from 2008 till 2018. In line with Munger and Phillips' framework, our empirical study identifies a market for extreme speech on the platform, which came into public view in 2017.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Scholarship in the Humanities
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Alt-right
  • YouTube
  • Speech markets
  • Extreme speech
  • Bloodsports
  • Hate speech

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A Free Market in Extreme Speech: Scientific Racism and Bloodsports on YouTube'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this