Alternative Influence

“These strategies reveal a tension underlying the content produced by these influencers: while they present themselves as news sources, their content strategies often more accurately consist of marketing and advertising approaches. These approaches are meant to provoke feelings, memories, emotions, and social ties. In this way, the “accuracy” of their messaging can be difficult to assess through traditional journalistic tactics like fact-checking. Specifically, they recount ideological testimonials that frame ideology in terms of personal growth and self-betterment. They engage in self-branding techniques that present traditional, white, male-dominated values as desirable and aspirational. They employ search engine optimization (SEO) to highly rank their content against politically charged keywords. And they strategically use controversy to gain attention and frame political ideas as fun entertainment.”

-Rebecca Lewis, “Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube.” Data & Society. August 2018.

More than you ever wanted to know about how the “alt-right” uses YouTube, and Google’s role in giving them a “platform”.

h/t O’Reilly

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