Renee Ekwoge can’t remember the last conversation she had with her father. They stopped talking regularly months ago, after she moved nearly 1,000 miles away for a new job last summer.
“The last time I saw my dad, he was painting my house,” Ekwoge says. “He came and helped paint all weekend. It was nice when we lived closer and had ways to hang out that didn’t include nonsense videos.”
Those “nonsense videos” are about conspiracy theories. They’ve become a major focus for her father — on topics like COVID-19 and Sept. 11, 2001. He watches them on YouTube.
Ekwoge’s dad is one of billions of people who visit YouTube every month. YouTube, with its massive reach, has a history of being unable to keep disinformation off of its site. That disinformation distorts reality, and it changes how some people see the world. Then it changes them — and their relationships.