The Atlantic

The Reason Conspiracy Videos Work So Well on YouTube

It’s the paranoid style, mutated for platform politics.
Source: Leah Millis / Reuters

Cataloging the conspiracies on offer on YouTube is a fool’s errand, but let’s try: fake moon landing, flat Earth, 9/11 stuff, the Illuminati, anti-vaxxer propaganda, medical quackery, QAnon, Nikola Tesla and the pyramids, fiat currency, global cooling, lizard people, robot overlords, time travel, and many even odder things you’ve probably never heard of.

Last month, YouTube said it would stop recommending “content that could misinform users in harmful ways—such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat, or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11.”

But the conspiracy videos continue to burble up in the great seething mass of moving pictures. Earlier this week, in a report on the continued success of conspiracy videos on the platform, ’ Kevin Roose , “Many young people have absorbed a YouTube-centric worldview, including rejecting mainstream information sources in favor of platform-native creators bearing ‘secret histories’ and faux-authoritative explanations.”

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