According to a lengthy investigation by Bloomberg on Google’s struggle to maximize profit while addressing calls to censor ‘toxic’ material, a rogue employee decided to ignore the advice of corporate attorneys and created a new “vertical” category to internally track so-called “alt-right” content – described as “the political ensemble loosely tied to Trump.”
What they found was fascinating; alt-right videos are an absolute monster category for the video-hosting platform, right up with “music, sports and gaming” as the most popular.
One telling moment happened around early 2018, according to two people familiar with it. An employee decided to create a new YouTube “vertical,” a category that the company uses to group its mountain of video footage. This person gathered together videos under an imagined vertical for the “alt-right,” the political ensemble loosely tied to Trump. Based on engagement, the hypothetical alt-right category sat with music, sports and gaming as the most popular channels at YouTube, an attempt to show how critical these videos were to YouTube’s business. –Bloomberg
Three days after the 2016 US election, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and her staff convened for their weekly meeting, where one employee “fretted aloud about the site’s election-related videos that were watched the most,” as they were “dominated by publishers like Breitbart News and Infowars, which were known for outrage and provocation.”