Nahema Marchal was interviewed by the European Science-Media Hub in July 2020 about the COVID-19 “infodemic.” She spoke about her research on YouTube, state-backed media outlets, and COVID-19 misinformation more broadly:
YouTube is as much a community as it is a portal to information. What this means is that viewers often follow creators that they like and trust — from political commentators to religious leaders and self-declared health experts — with little regard to the neutrality or factual accuracy of their content. In fact, as media scholars like Rebecca Lewis and Dr Alice Marwick have shown, it’s quite the opposite. More often than not, a user might follow a specific influencer precisely because they position themselves as a pariah or reactionary, or because they share non-mainstream news. And it’s pretty easy to push deceptively subversive messages, without sharing outright lies, to dedicated audiences who take it at face value.
In other words, people who seek junk content, because they find it entertaining or are simply curious, will always find it, as long as they know how to look for it. The problem is that the content is there in the first place.