Group 2 // Section 1 // 11:00a.m. // Youtube Conspiracy Theories

Panel members: Baillie, Dani, Alyssa, John

Online Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you yourself ever watched conspiracy theories on YouTube? How did you get there? What videos led you to that, or did you look up that specific conspiracy theory? How has the source affected/influenced your view(s) on this conspiracy theory?
  2. Are viewers believing in these conspiracies more often when they come from a reliable/household name YouTuber? Do the videographers crafting these YouTube conspiracy stories truly believe what they are reporting on or is this an act?
  3. Do you consider conspiracy videos as harmful? Is it harmful towards a certain audience? What makes it harmful? It is harmful because of the YouTuber creator or channel?
  4. Is changing the algorithms on YouTube an actual solution or an easy way to “sweep this problem under the rug” in order to keep the money and viewers flowing?

Readings:

  1. “The Reason Conspiracy Videos Work So Well on YouTube” (The Atlantic, 2019)
  2. Youtube Unleashed a Conspiracy Theory Boom. Can It Be Contained? ” (The New York Times, 2019)

Counter-Technology: Hired fact-checkers, as well as warning messages to introduce videos, similar to a television content warning notification, Snopes.com