Deplatforming the Far-right: An Analysis of YouTube and BitChute

28 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2021

See all articles by Adrian Rauchfleisch

Adrian Rauchfleisch

National Taiwan University - Graduate Institute of Journalism

Jonas Kaiser

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; Suffolk University

Date Written: June 15, 2021

Abstract

The content moderation practice of deplatforming, i.e. the removal of undesired actors, has become common on social media platforms such as YouTube. Little research has gone into understanding the scope and impact of deplatforming. In our study, we are particularly interested in the deplatforming of far-right channels to understand the impact deplatforming has on them. To do so, we analyze two datasets: We check whether 11,198 YouTube channels have been removed in 22 months between 2018 and 2019 and for what reason. We then focus on the far-right and check whether the deplatformed far-right channels have found a new home on the alternative video platform BitChute. Our analysis shows that deplatforming is effective in minimizing the reach of disinformation and extreme speech, as alternative platforms that will allow this kind of content cannot mitigate the negative effect of being deplatformed on YouTube.

Keywords: YouTube, content moderation, far-right, deplatforming, BitChute

Suggested Citation

Rauchfleisch, Adrian and Kaiser, Jonas, Deplatforming the Far-right: An Analysis of YouTube and BitChute (June 15, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3867818 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3867818

Adrian Rauchfleisch (Contact Author)

National Taiwan University - Graduate Institute of Journalism ( email )

No.1, Sec.4, Roosevelt Road
Taipei, 10617
Taiwan

Jonas Kaiser

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Suffolk University ( email )

41 Temple Street
Boston, MA 02114
United States

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