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Paper

Understanding the Incel Community on YouTube

MPS-Authors
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Zannettou,  Savvas
Internet Architecture, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;

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Fulltext (public)

arXiv:2001.08293.pdf
(Preprint), 747KB

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Citation

Papadamou, K., Zannettou, S., Blackburn, J., De Cristofaro, E., Stringhini, G., & Sirivianos, M. (2020). Understanding the Incel Community on YouTube. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/abs/2001.08293.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-89B3-4
Abstract
YouTube is by far the largest host of user-generated video content worldwide. Alas, the platform also hosts inappropriate, toxic, and/or hateful content. One community that has come into the spotlight for sharing and publishing hateful content are the so-called Involuntary Celibates (Incels), a loosely defined movement ostensibly focusing on men's issues, who have often been linked to misogynistic views. In this paper, we set out to analyze the Incel community on YouTube by focusing on the evolution of this community over the last decade and understanding whether YouTube's recommendation algorithm steers users towards Incel-related videos. We collect videos shared on Incel-related communities within Reddit, and perform a data-driven characterization of the content posted on YouTube. Among other things, we find that the Incel community on YouTube is getting traction and that during the last decade the number of Incel-related videos and comments rose substantially. Also, we quantify the probability that a user will encounter an Incel-related video by virtue of YouTube's recommendation algorithm. Within five hops when starting from a non-Incel-related video, this probability is 1 in 5, which is alarmingly high as such content is likely to share toxic and misogynistic views.