How YouTube Combated Brie Larson Trolls With Its Search Algorithm

Brie Larson as Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel Movie

YouTube was able to combat trolls posting negative videos about Captain Marvel and its star Brie Larson using its search algorithm. After 20 hugely-successful male-centered movies, Marvel Studios has finally allowed a female character to head up an MCU film with Captain Marvel, starring Oscar winner Brie Larson as the titular superhero. However, not everyone is happy to see a female character finally get a chance to lead the way in a Marvel movie.

Unfortunately, the arrival of Captain Marvel has been met with a strongly negative reaction from certain quarters of the internet, leading to everything from boycott calls to active review bombing. The concerted effort by trolls to bring down Captain Marvel on popular review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes finally became so intense that the website was forced to take drastic action, changing their policy about users posting reviews before the release of films. Fans of Captain Marvel also shot back against trolls by posting their own videos in defense of the the MCU's first female-led movie.

Related: 20 Characters Named Captain Marvel (That Aren’t Carol Danvers)

In the face of all the Captain Marvel negativity being flung around on the internet, YouTube too was forced to take action to prevent trolls from dominating the conversation. As explained by The Verge, the video site went on the offensive against anti-Captain Marvel posters after clips slamming Larson and calling for boycotts against the movie began showing up at the top of their search results. Starting this week, YouTube began labeling all searches for Brie Larson as news items, which kicks in a different algorithm that sends videos from authoritative news sources to the top of search results, pushing the trolling videos from random users further down the list.

Captain Marvel

YouTube actually began implementing their news algorithm back in 2017 after users began complaining about conspiracy videos dominating search results in the wake of the Las Vegas shootings. With the algorithm in place, a search for Brie Larson on YouTube now sends users first to videos posted by Wired, BuzzFeed Celeb, and Variety, where before it prioritized videos from angry Marvel fans with titles like "Brie Larson is ruining Marvel," "Burn it Down" and "What went wrong?". However, YouTube hasn't stifled all the negative content, as a search for Larson filtered for videos posted in the last week still pushes dubious clips like "Disney & Avengers Cast UPSET W/ Brie Larson & Captain Marvel! Recast Incoming?" toward the top of the list.

Naturally, some users get upset when sites like YouTube manipulate search results in this way, arguing that their free speech is being violated. Recently however, there has been more and more pushback against sites that allow certain types of controversial content to dominate search results, and indeed there have been many examples of bad actors deliberately manipulating such results in order to push their own agendas. The tug of war between trolls and sites seemingly will continue forever. Either way, Brie Larson and Captain Marvel are well on their way to being a huge smash hit, with projections saying the movie may open to over $100 million this weekend.


Source: The Verge

Key Release Dates
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 release date:
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