If you’ve spent any time on YouTube, you may have noticed that the recommended videos section on a given piece of content (political content of any sort most often) you’re watching can often be an absolute mess filled with reactionary videos, Jordan Peterson lectures, and feminist cringe compilations. It’s long been noted now that the site in general heavily favors and presents predominantly right-wing (often far-right) content to the average user.
The reasons for this can be debated, with the most nefarious being that YouTube’s staff just really want people to see this particular thing, but the more likely answer is that many of the channels that churn out this sort of content are older, deeply entrenched and, frankly, quite popular, leading to them being automatically favored by whatever totally fucked algorithm YouTube uses to manage this sort of thing. Sargon of Akkad, the Amazing Atheist, and Thunderfoot are all examples of this, creators who have channels at least 5 years old and who’s anti-feminist and generally “anti-SJW” rhetoric gained them quite a lot of popularity, surging during gamergate. These types of content creator have a rather tight-knit community, often featuring in each other’s videos, and their viewers and fans are devoted enough to flag en masse any sort of left wing content on the site, harass and intimidate those creators, and generally contribute to an environment that can be very hostile for progressive voices.
But I don’t just want to talk about those sorts of channels. I’d like to hear more about those progressive voices on the platform in the background for years, and the slow, steady, and understated rise of leftist creators trying to carve out a space on YouTube and offer up alternatives to watching Anita Sarkeesian takedowns and “Epic Feminist Meltdown” videos all day. A few of my personal favorite channels are:
Three Arrows: Does incredibly thorough research and frequently debunks dangerous right wing arguments and talking points. His videos delve deep into complicated historical topics that people love to lie about and skew to try and prove a point. A relatively recent channel, posting it’s first video only 7 months ago and gained a popularity boost after one of his works was pulled after being flagged by a wave of reactionaries which resulted in other like minded channels posting this same video on their accounts in solidarity. Absolutely worth watching anything on his channel, it’s all fantastic.
Shaun; perhaps gaining the most exposure for a couple videos breaking down why CinemaSins is absolute trash, Shaun has quite a few others talking about the rise of blatant white nationalism on YouTube and elsewhere hiding behind the veil of “skepticism”, and often formats his videos as a response to a prominent reactionary, and then uses that as a jumping off point to talk about the topic at hand in a broader way. Also, quite funny.
So, at the end of this super long post, I ask: Do you have any other progressive content creators you can recommend? Will we see an inevitable surge in leftist voices on social media sites run by apathetic tech bros who couldn’t care less about moderating their platforms in a decent way, or any way at all? How do progressive communities and creators deal with the threat posed by overzealous reactionary viewers working to dismantle any and all resistance to their preferred creators?