Credit: CC0 Public DomainJuly 25, 2019 (TechXplore) -- Using YouTube to learn about climate-change-related topics will expose you to video content that mostly opposes worldwide scientific consensus.
That's the finding of a new study published in Frontiers in Communication, which also reveals that some scientific terms, such as geoengineering, have been 'hijacked' by conspiracy theorists so that searches provide entirely non-scientific video content. Scientists could counteract this by forming alliances with influential YouTubers, politicians and those in popular culture, to ensure scientifically accurate video content reaches the widest possible audience.
"Searching YouTube for climate-science and climate-engineering-related terms finds fewer than half of the videos represent mainstream scientific views," says study author Dr. Joachim Allgaier, Senior Researcher at the RWTH Aachen University. "It's alarming to find that the majority of videos propagate conspiracy theories about climate science and technology."
Nearly 2 billion logged-in users -- half the world online -- visit YouTube every month, and research has shown that users see it as a platform for learning about science, health and technology.