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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.

YouTube has denied that figure and called it “wildly inaccurate and overinflated”.

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.

Andrew Tate (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Andrew Tate (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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.”

Youtube said in a statement: “We enforce our policies rigorously and when we identify content that violates them, we take action. We are continuing to investigate this issue and will take further action as needed, which may include removing channels that violate our policies.”

But a spokesperson for the video sharing platform later followed up with an additional statement, saying: “The figure released by the Center for Countering Digital Hate is wildly inaccurate and overinflated. The vast majority of these channels were not monetising and therefore earning no revenue for the channel or YouTube.”

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.

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

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 after The 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”.

The report uncovered adverts on videos where Tate discusses fighting women, saying “grip her up by the neck” in a video.

Alex Davies-Jones, Labour’s Shadow Safeguarding Minister, said: “There is no place on or offline for Andrew Tate’s vile misogyny. He has hugely profited from spreading hate and this is having an enormous impact on young people.”

Ms Davies-Jones, who previously spoke out about rape and death threats she endured after speaking out about Tate’s influence on schoolboys said, argued laws do not go far enough to curb social media platforms as she argued toxic masculinity is being disseminated to children.

This article was amended on 31 January 2024 to include an additional statement from YouTube.