To what degree is a YouTube channel espousing fake news?
Generally speaking, when a video contains false or highly disputed information, it cannot withstand public scrutiny. To save face, the uploader will either disable the comments section or only allow approved comments.
A somewhat reliable indicator of “fake news” is the number of videos with no comments, a disabled comment section, a significant number of “thumbs down”, or a disabled voting track.
This calculator takes the 50 most recent videos of a channel and calculates the percentage of videos that meet the above criteria.
A video counts towards the fake news score if one of the following is met. The reason for classifying the video as “fake news” is in parentheses:
- A: voting track disabled (the uploader knows it’s fake news and expects a lot of dislikes)
- B: the video has comments disabled and #thumbs down >= #thumbs up × 0.1 (a deceptive presentation of news and the uploader doesn’t want the public to discuss it critically)
- C: the video has no comments and #thumbs down > #thumbs up × 0.3 (comments likely require approval but the uploader has no intention of reviewing comments)
- D: the video has comments and #thumbs down >= #thumbs up × 0.5 (fake enough that it is intuitively unlikable by a significant portion of the public)
Here are some results taken at the time of this posting:
- CBC’s The National is 76% fake news.
- CNN is 64% fake news.
- Fox News is 20% fake news.
- Rebel Media is 2% fake news.
And for fun, YouTube’s most subscribed uploader, PewDiePie, is 0% fake news.
The calculator is for entertainment purposes only and is by no means a scientific determination whether a channel is “fake news” or not. However, the data can’t be ignored as it exposes how postmodern ideas being pushed by legacy media outlets aren’t naturally palatable.
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