UK

YouTube ‘earned up to £2.4m from ads on Andrew Tate videos’

YouTube has accumulated as much as £2.4m from adverts on videos of the misogynistic social media personality Andrew Tate, a new study has suggested.

Research by the Center for Countering Digital Hate found the video platform may have earned the large sum from ad revenue generated by channels posting Tate’s content before they were taken down by YouTube last week.

Experts warn the former kickboxing world champion turned self-styled success coach pushes “violently misogynistic” and “deeply conspiratorial” material which can lure viewers into more dangerous, extreme far-right content as they accused social media firms of enabling Tate to accumulate profit.

Tate, who has over 8m Twitter followers, has been banned from YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. He was previously banned from Twitter/X but the platform’s owner Elon Musk reinstated Tate’s Twitter account when he took control of the social media site.

Tate and his brother Tristan, dual British-US citizens, were charged in Romania with rape, human trafficking and forming an organised crime group to sexually exploit women – allegations they deny.

The new study shared exclusively with The Independent, comes after a recent investigation by Vice News revealed Tate’s online business academy The Real World was wielding social media to exploit his young followers – shedding light on several hefty YouTube channels pushing the scheme. Mr Tate’s lawyer Joseph McBride did not respond to questions from Vice.

Researchers analysed The Real World – that had accumulated more than 450 million views – and an unnamed channel also sharing The Real World material – which gained almost 300 million views – to calculate the figure of £2.4m.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate noted YouTube sometimes gives money it makes from ads to the channel itself, reportedly paying just over half of the revenue to the content creator and keeping the rest of the money.

“Social media companies have helped Andrew Tate to profit from his toxic industry producing and distributing hate,” Imran Ahmed, the Center for Countering Digital Hate’s chief executive, told The Independent.

“Their algorithms, which reward engagement, are the crucial alchemy by which toxic figures like Tate turn outrage into gold, thereby incentivising violent misogyny that leads to real-world harm to women and girls.”

Mr Ahmed argued “extremists” such as Tate have learned that they can sidestep social media bans by “leveraging their vast online followings through lucrative affiliate marketing schemes”.

He added: “Platforms eventually acted against the artificial network of accounts boosting Tate’s content for clicks and profit, but this shows YouTube and others are happy to continue to turn a blind eye as long as the money keeps rolling in.”

It comes after Tate recently fired off a tweet questioning whether the Nazis really were the “bad guy” during the Second World War despite their murder of at least 7m Jews and others including Roma and Sinti people, black people, LGBT+ people, those with disabilities, Slavic people, communists, and other political opponents.

Georgia Laming, of leading anti-fascism charity HOPE not hate, said: “Andrew Tate’s misogynist, homophobic and racist content is seen online by millions of young people. His confidence, his money and his lifestyle are all carefully crafted to make his brand of hateful content seem aspirational.”

She said this is provoking a growing division between how young men and women perceive gender equality as she explained the material he shares goes “well beyond jokes denigrating women”.

Ms Lamming added: “It is violently misogynistic and deeply conspiratorial. His social media accounts act as a gateway to even more extreme far-right, misogynistic and conspiratorial content. Consuming his content could lead to young men seeking out manosphere spaces, Covid-denial materials and other extremist influencers.”

It comes afterThe Independent revealed shocking figures finding more young men in the UK have seen material from Tate than have heard of the PM Rishi Sunak.

In another piece, we also revealed the findings of exclusive polling by YouGov that found around a quarter of young men agree with Tate’s views on how women should be treated.

The Independent previously reported on research by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate which unearthed 47 videos of Tate pushing what it describes as “extreme misogyny”.

Social media companies have helped Andrew Tate to profit from his toxic industry producing and distributing hate. Their algorithms, which reward engagement, are the crucial alchemy by which toxic figures like Tate turn outrage into gold, thereby incentivising violent misogyny that leads to real-world harm to women and girls.

Imran Ahmed

Xural.com

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