While YouTube tries to police conspiracy theory videos, some of the platform’s most popular stars, such as Logan Paul, are discussing them and bringing in millions of page views.
On Monday, Paul teased a trailer on his YouTube account for The Flat Earth: To The Edge And Back, a documentary-style video that explores the flat Earth conspiracy theory, takes viewers to a flat Earth convention, and ends with Paul saying, “I think I’m coming out of the flat Earth closet.” Even though the video won’t be released until March 20, the trailer itself has already generated nearly one million page views.
While Paul doesn’t specifically say that the flat earth conspiracy theory is real, he talks to different experts in the documentary about why it exists and how people are claiming that science isn’t always accurate. The documentary also highlights people who believe in it and their reasoning for supporting it.
Paul’s video isn’t the only conspiracy theory footage to hit YouTube: Shane Dawson, another major YouTuber, unveiled a two-part series exploring many conspiracy theories, including that the California wildfires were set on purpose, The Verge reported. Together, Dawson’s videos on conspiracy theories yielded more than 62 million views on YouTube.
These conspiracy theory videos follow YouTube’s recent decision to start limiting misinformation, including conspiracy theories that claim the world is flat, on its website. In January, the platform said it would stop recommending videos that contain false content, such as conspiracy theories. Following this announcement, YouTube said it would stop running ads on “Momo Challenge” videos, even on videos that warned parents about the dangerous game.
Despite its plans to crack down on misinformation, YouTube didn’t tell The Verge if Paul’s video would be impacted by these guideline updates. Additionally, some conspiracy theory videos, including Dawson’s, have ads and these videos previously showed up on YouTube’s front page. Dawson and Paul are part of Google’s AdSense program, so they can earn advertising revenue for their YouTube content.
Even though YouTube is still regulating conspiracy theory videos, these videos can also risk sending YouTube viewers to more digital content that explains these controversial topics. So, they’re more likely to read conspiracy theories that might be broadcasting false facts on the video streaming platform.