YouTube audit project
The plugin has been developed to investigate the role of YouTube’s search and recommendation algorithm in surfacing politically biased content related to US Elections 2020. Once users install the plugin, they will be required to click on the plugin button every day. Once the button is clicked, the plugin will automatically open two browser windows (one incognito and one standard), open YouTube, watch videos on YouTube (muted), save the video page HTML that contains video recommendations, open YouTube homepage and save homepage HTML, perform search queries on YouTube automatically and save Search Result HTML that contains the search results. The collected HTMLs are then send to the backend server. The plugin will collect data for three weeks after which it will not perform any action.
It is also important to note that we are not tracking user activity on YouTube. The plugin has a pre-selected list of videos that it will watch and for which it will collect video recommendations and pre-selected list of search results that it will search. The plugin starts watching a pre-selected video, click on up-next videos consecutively for a certain number of times and for every video we will be collecting the video HTML containing the video recommendations. The plugin has been coded to watch preselected videos every day for three weeks. Once, all the pre-selected videos have been watched, the plugin will not perform any action even if the user does not uninstall the plugin.