Investigation 3: Mommy Vlogger Personas

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

Authors: Rhea Bhatnagar

Published: 18 June 2024

This is the third 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 Mommy vloggers. 

The first investigation examines teenage accounts with an interest in gaming. The second explores accounts with an interest in “male lifestyle gurus”, 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.

Rhea Bhatnagar is a Digital Research Analyst at ISD US where she focuses on online extremism, hate and disinformation in the US and globally. Prior to joining ISD, Rhea worked for Media Matters for America as an Internet and Misinformation Researcher, where she concentrated in platform accountability and the spread of international online misinformation. Her research has previously been cited in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Columbia Journalism Review. Rhea holds an undergraduate degree in International Affairs with a concentration in Conflict Resolution from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

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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.