November 28, 2023, 18:08

YouTube’s algorithms: how the platform promotes Russian propaganda and how to discourage it

The “Downward Spiral of Addiction: How YouTube Algorithms Promote Conspiracy and Propaganda” study, carried out by the team, has shown that the platform is a widespread conduit of content that is harmful to Ukraine’s national interests. In particular, disinformation and misinformation videos are promoted by the platform’s algorithms, as such content is promoted through the recommendation algorithm.

This was discussed during the presentation of the study at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform.

“If you watch a cooking show, for example, and a thousand other people watch a video on the same topic, and if some of them watch Russian propaganda, then all the people who watch cooking shows will be fed Russian propaganda. This is how the algorithm works—it is tailored to human interests, it is not tailored to watch propaganda,” explained Roman Kulchynsky, editor-in-chief of

Thus, added the author of the study, journalist Serhii Mikhalkov, the viewing of propaganda, disinformation videos, and YouTube channels by a person, according to the algorithm, will expand the interests of other users who also watch it, and accordingly, such content will be spread further.

In particular, in this aspect, Roman Kulchynsky believes that YouTube should take a regulatory approach to address the issue of spreading Russian propaganda and falsehoods on the platform and take it down from all categories.

“That’s where a greater global problem arises, this tool is used not only by Russia but also by other totalitarian countries. In other words, YouTube needs to understand that there is such a thing as Russian disinformation and it needs to be removed from all categories, the threats that totalitarian regimes promote to Western countries and Ukraine should be filtered out and excluded completely from its platform,” he emphasized.

Find more information on how YouTube algorithms promote conspiracy and propaganda study here.

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