How we end up 'confined' on YouTube

How we end up 'confined' on YouTube
Credit: CNRS

Everyone who has used the YouTube video platform has already had the feeling: the successive recommendations generated by the site's algorithm sometimes "confine" us in a bubble of similar content.

Camille Roth, a CNRS researcher at the Centre Marc Bloch—Franco-German Research Centre for the Social Sciences (CNRS/MEAE/MESRI/BMBF), and his colleagues Antoine Mazières and Telmo Menezes, have studied this phenomenon by exploring recommendations from a thousand videos on different subjects, thereby running through half a million recommendations.

Their results show that contrary to the algorithms of other platforms, which seem to promote the exploration of novelty and serendipity, YouTube's is actually an exception, generating a number of confinement phenomena.

A user's navigation based on recommendations can be seen as a movement within a network of interconnected videos: by starting out from a particular , the is more or less closed, in other words it leads to content that is more or less similar and redundant.

In addition, the content that leads to the most confined recommendation networks also seems to revolve around the most viewed videos, or the ones with the longest viewing time.

This research was published on 21 April 2020 in the journal PLOS ONE.

More information: Camille Roth et al, Tubes and bubbles topological confinement of YouTube recommendations, PLOS ONE (2020). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0231703

To learn more visit:

Journal information: PLoS ONE
Provided by CNRS
Citation: How we end up 'confined' on YouTube (2020, April 22) retrieved 23 February 2024 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

YouTube demotes flat-earthers, conspiracy theorists


Feedback to editors