There have been many great documentaries in the last few years that have brought to light the crazy rabbit hole that modern society has been living in. Particularly when it comes to the world of misinformation. Now the upcoming documentary The YouTube Effect is set to showcase Google and YouTube‘s part in this growing problem. The film is directed by Bill and Ted’s Alex Winter and will make its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 11, 2022. Along with that announcement we also received a new trailer for the film.
The YouTube Effect “examines how the platform has become a lightning rod for online radicalization, surveillance, algorithmic capitalism, the proliferation of misinformation, and of course, influencers and cat videos.” The minute-long trailer takes us through how the service went from being an escape for content creators to one of the worst offenders of misinformation in these rising political times. We see when Google bought YouTube and how that started the platform on the path it is on today focusing on the dreaded algorithm, views, and likes. The documentary refers to what we are currently in as the “misinformation apocalypse”. This documentary tackles how the current state of YouTube and Google has changed society for the worse and how we are running out of time to fix the current trajectory it has put us on.
The internet bubble is a very real thing and when we engage in this usually hate-based misinformation pit, a piece of humanity goes along with it. Platforms like YouTube have given the world a lot of positive things, which this documentary also looks to touch on, but YouTube feels so much different when you compare it to the platform just a few years ago. Recent world events have brought to light the dark corners of the platform that have been left unchecked for years and, like the documentary says in the trailer, there are things that people can get away with on YouTube that they could not get away with on TV. There is a big part of the world that believes the Earth is still flat, the US election was stolen, and that the COVID pandemic was a hoax. YouTube unintentionally or not, has played a big role in that conversation. While distrust in mainstream media is at an all-time high, YouTube has been benefiting from that chaos and this trailer effectively shows that.
It is definitely going to be interesting to see what Winter will bring to this documentary given that he is more known for his acting roles in films like the Bill & Ted franchise. However, Winter has directed various projects for decades and has a major YouTube connection as he directed Smosh: The Movie in 2015. Smosh was one of the first YouTube channels to hit it big on the platform and is still one of the most popular channels to this day. When talking about his upcoming documentary Winter said, “I’m honored and grateful to be premiering a film at Tribeca for the first time. The festival is revered for its sophistication and cultural savvy, making it the perfect home for a documentary on the global impact of tech titans YouTube and Google”.
The YouTube Effect premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 11, 2022. Hopefully, we will get a wide release date for the documentary soon. Until then, you can watch the full trailer for the documentary and read its full plot synopsis down below.
Directed by Alex Winter (Bill & Ted Face The Music, Showbiz Kids, The Panama Papers, Zappa), the feature documentary takes viewers on a timely and gripping journey inside the cloistered world of YouTube and its parent company Google; investigating YouTube’s rise from humble beginnings in the attic of a pizzeria to its explosion onto the world stage, becoming the largest media platform in history and sparking a cultural revolution, while creating massive controversy in the age of disinformation. In the fourth quarter of 2021 alone, YouTube brought in 8.6 billion dollars in advertising revenue, a 25% increase in its year to year results. While traditional media is struggling, YouTube is thriving.