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Mapping Politics on YouTube

Sat, August 31, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Hilton, Gunston East

Abstract

According to Pew, Youtube is the most used ``social network" in the United States, and second only to Facebook in how often users report using the the site for news. However, for a combination of sociological and technical reasons, there exist little quantitative social science research on the political content on Youtube. This paper uses a novel dataset consisting of the universe of videos with the ``politics" topic tag on YouTube going back to 2014. We compare the dynamics of popularity between mainstream and alternative news sources and use topic models to analyze the subject matter of videos from these different news sources. We then use the topic models to test whether shifts to the far-right are ``demand driven": topics used in comments on videos predict topics discussed in future videos.

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