Down the (White) Rabbit Hole: The Extreme Right and Online Recommender Systems

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This source pertains to the method by which extreme right and hate groups take advantage of user-generated video content websites’ recommender systems to pander to wider, more susceptible audiences. Most user-generated content websites, most prominently YouTube, provide these recommendation systems whereby related content is advertised to the user based on viewer history, co-visitation count, and other abstractions. The extreme right, in order to contravene hate laws and legal restrictions, have created networks of radical videos that interconnect and bounce off one another in relation to this recommendation system. With just a few clicks an audience member will enter a sea of ideological content.

Down the (White) Rabbit Hole is a useful source for researchers interested in how any extremist group is able to build upon pre-existing loopholes in user-generated content websites, specifically video websites, to construct spiderwebs of interrelated radical content. This content web’s cycle of entrapment could also be advantageous to scholars interested in how terrorist organizations create recruiting and inducement videos.

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Derek O’Callaghan, Derek Greene, Maura Conway, Joe Carthy, and Pádraig Cunningham

August 2015