Social impact of YouTube
As the world's largest video hosting website, YouTube has had an impact in many fields, with some individual YouTube videos having directly shaped world events. YouTube enables inexpensive creation and distribution of academic educational content, as well as "how-to" videos created by individual YouTubers. Worldwide video access has spurred innovation by enabling geographically distributed individuals to build upon each other's work and to collaborate.
While YouTube videos have spread of awareness of social issues (such as bullying, suicide, and LGBT issues), they have also included potentially harmful content (such as those describing self-harm). The website's recommendation algorithm has also been found to recommend harmful content to children and has promoted potentially dangerous practices such as the tide pod challenge. YouTube has become an important news platform for both individual eyewitness video and established news organizations. The website has also facilitated engagement between institutions and individuals (such as between universities and prospective students, and between businesses and employees).
YouTube has affected politics, becoming even more important than direct mail in political campaigning, with politicians and governments using the website to directly engage citizens and promote policies. Though YouTube has promoted democracy through free expression of individual political views, its recommendation algorithm has been shown to preferentially recommend extreme content, leading to claims that it has been used as a tool for political radicalization. Large companies and brands have used the website as a focused advertising tool for mass marketing and audience growth. Conversely, individuals have partnered with advertisers and have grown their own audiences, the "Partner Program" enabling individual content creators to monetize videos and even earn livelihoods directly from posting content.