When we focus only on the algorithm, we miss two incredibly important aspects of YouTube that play a critical role in far-right propaganda: celebrity culture and community.
This is all fed by the incentives inherent within the platform.
Through parasocial relationships and platform-facilitated social networking, YouTube creators and audiences alike are incentivized to spread and reinforce far-right ideas.
Rather than a ‘propaganda machine’, Lewis argues that YouTube is best considered as a ‘pollutant’.
To invoke a metaphor from my colleague Whitney Phillips, far-right propaganda on the platform acts more like a pollutant than a rabbit hole: it contaminates those who consume it and simultaneously impacts the whole media environment.