‘Climate Lockdown’ and the Culture Wars: How COVID-19 Sparked a New Narrative Against Climate Action

Authors: Eisha Maharasingam-Shah, Pierre Vaux
Published: 18 October 2021

In September 2020, ISD analysts identified an emerging trend on social media relating to the term ‘climate lockdown’. This spike in volume seemed to be driven primarily by climate sceptics, who claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic was merely a precursor to future ‘green tyranny’, and that both governments and global elites would curtail civil liberties under the pretext of climate change. Over the following eight months, analysts conducted a detailed study of the emergence and mainstreaming of this phrase across Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

This report details the chronological growth and evolution of the ‘climate lockdown’ conspiracy narrative. The report is divided into two sections: the first outlines how the narrative emerged and was repurposed by malign actors, making its way onto different social media platforms. The second illustrates how liberal media missteps in early 2021 reignited the narrative, causing it to merge with other, pre-existing conspiracies and ultimately become centred in wider anti-elite discourse.

Download Report

Pulling Back the Curtain: An Exploration of YouTube’s Recommendation Algorithm

This is the executive summary of ISD’s Pulling Back the Curtain series which explores different aspects of YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. The series consists of four separate investigations examining the recommendations sent to eight U.S.-based YouTube accounts registered with varying ages, genders, and interests over one month. This report summarizes the findings across all four investigations and provides an overview of the project and platform policy recommendations.

Investigation 4: Spanish-Language News Consumers

This is the fourth investigation in ISD’s Pulling Back the Curtain series which explores different aspects of YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. The series consists of four separate investigations examining the recommendations sent to eight U.S.-based YouTube accounts registered with varying ages, genders, and interests over one month. This report examines the recommendations sent to two accounts with an interest in Spanish langauge news.