ISD’s Head of Communications & Editorial, Tim Squirrell, spoke to Sky News about Andrew Tate, in aid of an investigation which found that the misogynist influencer is being pushed on to the social media feeds of young boys by platforms’ algorithms.
Sky News set up a fake account of a young teenage boy to see whether YouTube Shorts, Instagram and TikTok would promote videos featuring Tate unprompted. Despite Tate being banned from all three platforms, the investigation found almost 30 videos featuring Andrew and his brother Tristan were served to the fake account within a two-hour period specifically on YouTube Shorts.
Tim told Sky, “Andrew Tate has been extremely effective at gaming the algorithms of a variety of different platforms, with YouTube Shorts being just the latest.”
Tate has found a way to encourage “an army of boys” to post his content across social media by luring them with the money they earn from advertising bonuses on these clips, Tim said.
While TikTok appears to have put in work to improve their platform after previously being scrutinised on the issue, YouTube Shorts appears to have suffered from attempting to quickly replicate the short-form video format that has made TikTok popular.
Tim said, “It hasn’t been tested as extensively, their content moderation isn’t up to scratch, their algorithm is a little bit shifty in terms of how aggressively it optimises towards what it thinks you want.”
ISD previously published a report looking into YouTube Short’s algorithm and how it was promoting misogynistic content to young boys and men.