YouTube is and always has been a breeding ground for conspiracy theories - here's why that is dangerous

Tread cautiously ... there are plenty of rabbit holes on YouTube that you don't want to get sucked into

Russell Brand is just one of many who discussed conspiracy theories on YouTube (Getty)Russell Brand is just one of many who discussed conspiracy theories on YouTube (Getty)
Russell Brand is just one of many who discussed conspiracy theories on YouTube (Getty)

Wildfires set alight on purpose, military lasers and the life-threatening dangers of tap water. These are just some of the conspiracy theories you're likely to come across when on YouTube.

Without fact-checking, verification, or other similar measures, people are taking the internet's word as gospel truth and have been doing so for years.

YouTube has always been a platform where people can freely watch whatever they want. Sadly, I remember school friends telling me I had to watch 9/11 conspiracy theory videos while I was at school and that was during the platform's infancy in the 2000s.

Little has changed since then, in my opinion, and in all honesty, vertical video platforms like TikTok are no better. Recent studies have also shown how conspiracy theories thrive on YouTube.

Yes, YouTube does have safeguarding measures to stop inappropriate content being posted, but that doesn't include people trying to share knowledge based on little fact and a whole lot of speculation.

This isn't an attack on free speech or free thought. I'm quite the proponent of these ideals. But we still need to hold true to the facts and the integrity of the information we wish to share.

In the information age, how can we be so reckless about how we choose to inform others?

Let's not forget that, just like social media, YouTube is suggesting videos to you based on algorithms. so if you watch a few conspiracy theories on a topic of genuine interest or concern to you - for example, the apps that can access your iPhone's microphone - you can bet your recommended videos will be full of relevant content come the next day.

And thus the rabbit hole opens.

We are seeing right now how the niche audience one conspiracy theorist has been able to build up has turned into a loyal army. Since fading away from TV, Russell Brand has been talking for years on his YouTube about conspiracies including those related to Covid-19.

A look at the comments on his channel and you'll see what should now be a cause of concern considering the serious criminal allegations of rape and sexual abuse that have been levelled at him.

One comment reads: "Honestly, dude, it's surprising it has taken them this long to try and shut you down. For me, and many people who follow your content, it is just a sign that you are on the right track. Stay strong, brother."

Another reads: "I stand with Russell Brand. I am so bored of the mainstream's tactics to silence anyone they don't agree with."

And a third comment adds: "Russell Brand, you shine as a beacon of hope and enlightenment in a world that seeks to keep us uninformed and docile."

Of course, innocent until proven guilty. But we should let the police and the courts be the judge of this based on the facts.

The question I'd ask is not where you believe such theories are true. It's what impact they truly have on your daily life?

Is your office-based job or position in the civil service truly impacted by the knowledge of alien life? No, it is not.

Because once these kinds of issues are SO important to you, you'll find yourself willing to believe just about anything.