YouTube has paved the way for an entire generation of teens who grew up on their platform. Whether they were raised on beauty vloggers or Minecraft gamers, most young people can find a large part of their worldview shaped by the things they loved on YouTube, and the internet as a whole. While in many ways that can be positive, with millions of young people throughout the world finding a common set of interests, it can also become a large issue within the context of political ideologies.
Recently, people familiar with the political side of YouTube have come up with the term “Alt-right pipeline” to describe the way YouTube’s algorithm recommends content that becomes gradually more right-wing, which often has detrimental effects for the young minds that experience it. Many who have experienced the “pipeline” recall being recommended anti-feminist or “triggered” meme compilations that later become anti-feminist essay videos and culminated in pro-incel content.
Incels, for those unfamiliar, are typically men who refer to themselves as “involuntarily celibate” and use their resentment over that to justify their overall hatred, and sometimes violence, towards women. Young people, young men especially, who were drawn to this content often cite the YouTube algorithm for their indoctrination into this world.
YouTube is not the only perpetrator of allowing far-right content to run rampant. Many young people have also cited memes in general as one of the main radicalizers for them, and websites like Reddit and iFunny as the most dangerous location for them. TikTok creator,@eoin.jpg made a series of videos where he referenced the time in his life after he had been radicalized by Alt-right memes and YouTube videos.
Due to the success that the Alt-right has found through indoctrinating young people on the internet, many on the left have started to try to create an “Alt-left pipeline” of sorts, as a way to radicalize young people in, what they see as, a more positive way. However, those who oppose that idea
The internet has had an irreversible, and often negative, influence on the modern generation, with most young people owing a large sum of their personality to it. With that, comes ideologies that have been largely influenced by the internet as well, and as more of the websites young people, frequently become governed by algorithms, many worry of what new pipelines will form.