Investigation 2: “Male Lifestyle Guru” Personas

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

Author: Lucy Cooper

Published: 18 June 2024

This is the second 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 “male lifestyle gurus”. 

The first investigation examines teenage accounts with an interest in gaming. The third explores accounts with an interest in “Mommy vloggers”, while investigation four looks into the recommendations sent to users with an interest in Spanish language news. 

An executive summary summarizes the findings across all four investigations and provides an overview of the project and platform policy recommendations.

Lucy Cooper is a Digital Research Analyst at ISD US. Lucy holds a BA in political science from Barnard College of Columbia University, where she focused on political behavior, voting and elections in the United States. She has previously worked on political campaigns in Michigan and as a research assistant.

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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.