Freedom of Speech

Yesss, BuzzzTube's head algorithm.

The Algorithm

In the movie, Ralph and Vanellope try to earn enough money to buy a steering wheel for their arcade cabinet by posting videos of Ralph on the internet. They are aided in this endeavor by Yesss, BuzzzTube’s head algorithm. She can influence what users see when they use the app. When Yesss started to favor content involving Ralph to increase his popularity, BuzzzTube users experienced decreased content diversity. In real life, YouTube has a similar algorithm for video recommendations, which helps to keep users on the site. When a video or topic becomes very popular, it often gets repeatedly recommended by YouTube’s algorithm. Anyone can post to YouTube, but ultimately the algorithm decides what becomes popular. If treated improperly, this also means that some views can be pushed aside if desired by the algorithm. [1] It therefore is important for YouTube users to be aware of what is frequently being suggested by the algorithm, and be aware of what is and isn’t being included.

Ralph's fleeting moment of BuzzzTube relevance

Illegal Websites

Another topic in the movie is illegal websites. In the movie, Ralph ventures to a shady website to obtain a virus that could disrupt another game on the internet. In real life, there are many websites that offer illicit services, or discuss fringe ideas. These sites offer a platform for people to conduct business or say things that society would normally disapprove of. In doing so, these sites cross the line between engaging in free expression and hurting others. [2]. People who use these sites in a vacuum find themselves in an echo chamber that confirms their extremist opinions even when there is little to no evidence that it is true. [3].

Ralph and Spamley enter the dark net.

Sources

[1] Xavier Ribes, Is the YouTube Animation Algorithm-Friendly? How YouTube’s Algorithm Influences the Evolution of Animation Production on the Internet,(Sage, 2020), https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1746847720969990, accessed on 4/29/2021

[2] Aleszu Bajak et. al., When Trump started his speech before the Capitol riot, talk on Parler turned to Civil War, (USA today, 2021),
https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/2021/02/01/civil-war-during-trumps-pre-riot-speech-parler-talk-grew-darker/4297165001/ accessed on 4/29/2021

[3] Laura Romero, Experts say echo chambers from apps like Parler and Gab contributed to attack on Capitol, (ABCNews, 2021),
https://abcnews.go.com/US/experts-echo-chambers-apps-parler-gab-contributed-attack/story?id=75141014 accessed on 4/29/2021