WATCH: “Never Let Truth Get In The Way” Ex-Alt-Right YouTuber Says He Was Told By Former Bosses
Caolan (pronounce kay-lin) Robertson was once an alt-right YouTuber, producing content for extremists and conspiracy theorists. Now, he’s spilling the secrets of the trade — including the key directive from his bosses: “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
In the clips below, Robertson speaks on CNN and describes his experience, including what drove him to produce content he now calls ‘disinformation,’ and the balance between free speech and protection from false information.
"This is not a free speech argument," former alt-right YouTuber @CaolanRob says about algorithms. "I'm not saying they should be censored and banned. … This is about YouTube, the biggest video platform on the planet recommending and pushing content that is extreme…" pic.twitter.com/k9RD7kQsMi
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 25, 2021
Robertson, according to PinkNews had a revelation in 2019, concluding, after the attacks on mosques in New Zealand, that the spread of disinformation could cause innocent people to be endangered or harmed, and began to fight to get out of it — which he says was like leaving a cult. Now he works to fight disinformation, instead.
In the clips above, he describes being told by major right-wing figures like Alex Jones that they don’t believe or even care about the conspiracies — PizzaGate, pedophile rings, and more — but “pushed” this content anyway, because making audiences mad was the key. Getting the audience riled up meant more clicks, more views, and of course, more revenue.
Now his recommendation (seen in the second clip) isn’t necessarily to ban users for certain content. (Notably, recent bans have driven the ‘cancel culture’ and victim mentality that certain politicians and media figures are currently campaigning on.) However, he says there’s a responsibility for platforms not to help ‘push’ these ideologies by suggesting and feeding disinformation media to their users via algorithms. “In 2106 when I was an apolitical person, and I was browsing YouTube, and I was given all this information, and given recommendations from Rebel Media, I wasn’t looking for racist and far-right content. I was just browsing the internet,” he explains.