July 14, 2021

France - YouTube antisemitic footprint investigation - Research

The research, the result of a collaboration between several research laboratories (médialab, laboratory studying the relations between digital technology and society, CEE and LISIS) proposes a mapping of the antisemitic footprint in the comments on YouTube *.

The YouTube video platform is now the second most visited site in the world with 1.86 billion visitors in 2019 and occupies a privileged place in the French digital space **. This expanded speech space has fostered disinhibition and made the expression of creativity easier, but also opens the door to questionable or hateful speeches and to the dissemination of conspiracy theories, which regularly take up old antisemitic prejudices associating Jews with power. and money.

The research, the result of a collaboration between several research laboratories (médialab, laboratory studying the relations between digital technology and society, CEE and LISIS) proposes a mapping of the antisemitic footprint in the comments on YouTube, with, in particular, more general perspective, the project to assess the place occupied by conspiracy theses in the French digital space. The research work made it possible to measure a weak but not insignificant antisemitic footprint in the studied corpus, despite the “cleaning” carried out upstream by the platform itself to remove the questionable accounts. We find it more often in the comments of channels associated with different tendencies of the French extreme political right or of “counter-information”.

However, due to the extremely uneven distribution of audiences on YouTube, it is on the YouTube channels of the mainstream media that an Internet user has a much higher probability of encountering an antisemitic comment.

* The research covers only news and current affairs YouTube channels.

** 70% of the 60.4 million French Internet users go there regularly (Source: Statista).


Source: cncdh