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What hath YouTube wrought?

The seeming haplessness of YouTube in the face of its own algorithms, then, is not accidental. It has become conventional wisdom that YouTube has lost control of its platform to its algorithms, which, for instance, automatically restrict any and all LGBTQ+ content but encourage people to watch Nazi and alt-right content and create child-traumatizing clickbait. But rather than a loss of control, these outcomes prove YouTube is functioning as intended. By design, YouTube has little direct control over what its platform shows to any particular viewer compared with, say, NBC. Despite making some shows, YouTube’s primary business is not producing or even curating content; it is brokering as many matches as possible between content, viewers, and advertisers.

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