Four clicks on an incognito browser is all it takes for YouTube to churn up a video about, as the host puts it, “embracing the idea of violence” in a society that “despises” what it means to be a man.
Four clicks, and the column of recommended next views is full of videos touting the (false) benefits of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19, while the Instagram profile linked to by the host directs the viewer to an account promoting interviews about seemingly run of the mill topics like traditional masculinity, fighting, and hunting.
In between are posts interviewing and promoting political figures linked to the far-right, including those endorsing the violent mobs that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Others call gender fluidity a “delusion” and “child abuse,” while another urges the men in Kenosha to “get ready” and “load your firearms” on the day jury deliberations on Kyle Rittenhouse began.
And it all started with four words, typed into the YouTube search bar: “self esteem for guys.”