Data & Society > our work > press coverage > From Joe Rogan to the Far Right: Inside YouTube’s Alt-Media Ecosystem

Motherboard | 09.26.18

From Joe Rogan to the Far Right: Inside YouTube’s Alt-Media Ecosystem

Becca Lewis

Data & Society Researcher Becca Lewis explains the “alternative influence network” for Motherboard.

“The collaborative network—which Lewis calls the Alternative Influence Network (AIN)—is not simply an attempt to influence YouTube’s recommendation algorithm; rather, the AIN builds a culture in which personal reliability and authenticity legitimize the people in their network, not factual veracity or institutional support. Rather than building trust through fact-gathering and rigorously sourced information, AIN relies on the persona of a down-to earth, countercultural underdog. In other words, AIN feeds on the precise cocktail that forges virtual communities and propels YouTubers to microcelebrity status.”

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