Pro- or Anti- ?

In 2017, with the arrival in power of Donald Trump as president of the United States, the American political world quickly split between pro and anti-Trump. This polarization began in the late 1990s and has been only increasing since, promoted by the US voting system and the two-party system. Is this polarization also reflected Online ? Can the same effect be measured on YouTube communities ? In this data story, we will analyze the profiles of political communities on YouTube.

YouTube may be more ubiquitous than you think!

The YouTube that once was a simple video hosting platform has since become one of the main sources of our information, entertainment and even social network. YouTube in 2022, this is:

The recommendation algorithm of YouTube is probably one of the most powerful and influential in existence today, promoting content that works and that might enclose people in their own filter bubble, thus increasing polarization. And no one knows exactly how it works…

With such a powerful striking power and influence, YouTube plays an increasing role in people’s opinions, as it is used more and more to get news.

The way of consuming the news has not stopped evolving over time. With the invention of the printing press, the world of information has been considerably changed. Then the news was transmitted more and more quickly with the development of the radio, the information has then changed its face to become more widespread and entertaining with the arrival of television in households. Finally, since the creation of the Internet, much information is transmitted through this channel. Today, about 40% of Americans get news Online. It is even the number one source of information for the 18-45 age group. With the development of social networks, more and more people are getting information Online and this also raises more and more questions.

Sources of news on social media

In the social media family, after Facebook, YouTube is the second website where people get most of their news. In 2020, almost one in four people (23%) regularly got news on YouTube.

Sources of news on social media

So, What is the Importance of News & Politics Channels on YouTube?

Let’s investigate the topic thanks to the YouNiverse dataset that comprises metadata from over 136k YouTube channels and 72.9M videos (English-Speaking only!) published between May 2005 and October 2019. Furthermore, it contains about 8.6B comments made by ~449M users in 20.5M videos.

YouTube contains millions of videos, but you would maybe be surprised that the YouTube category with the most uploaded videos is the News & Politics one. The category contains more than 18% of the videos contained in the dataset. However, when we are looking at the number of views or channels, the story changes drastically. The News & Politic channel represents less than 3% of the total number of channels and count for only 1.74% of the total number of views.