YouTube & Advertisers Unwittingly Offer $1 Million Incentive Yearly For Viral Suicide Causing Doomsday Videos

These channels specialize in uploading evidence of ‘Nibiru’, a modern myth, a planet that supposedly is about to hit Earth or fly past, always in the near future. This will seem absurd to you if you have a decent scientific background, but these people do not. They missed out on astronomy or science at school and some are very young. Some teenagers as young as 13, the minimum age for Facebook are in a perpetual panic over these videos, and we hear from their parents of even younger children who got terrified by these videos, sometimes as young as 8 years old.

Steve Olsen just revealed to Metro magazine that he earns $50K a year from his doomsday YouTube channel WSO. Based on this then we can begin to estimate the total earnings from all the fake Doomsday high earners and though this is nowhere near enough data to be sure, it may well be over $1 million a year.

The ‘evidence’ these YouTubers upload to their channel as “proof” that we are about to be buzzed by a planet, brown dwarf, second sun, or an entire second solar system, typically consists of: lens flares, and other optical effects, brightly coloured clouds or gaps in clouds at sunrise and sunset, and sun halos. They also use numerology and astrology, bizarre pseudoscience, and genuine science stories about exoplanets, and searches for planets beyond Neptune. All this, they claim with great authority, is indesputable evidence that we are about to be buzzed by another planet. Their viewers are either too young to know any better, or flunked physics at school, and uncritically accept all this as true. The videos then get virally shared on social media, with panicking viewers warning their friends.

I’m writing this as founder of the Facebook Doomsday Debunked group. Our volunteer members spend hours every day supporting these scared, panicking, and sometimes suicidal people, many of them young teens, still at home and at school. Most say they are also getting help from health professionals, with medication and therapy. Every day we see the effects of fake doomsday articles and videos on these people, including adults also, often young parents, posting to our group 24/7. Our petition to YouTube to end ad revenue support of these channels is based on these experiences and if you want to sign it right away, it is here.

The famous UK television astronomer Brian Cox once tweeted

This imaginary BS is what is terrifying many of your young teens and in the process also earning YouTube channel creators thousands of dollars a month.


It starts with Steve Olsen’s $50K a year Social Blade has the estimate for his channel WSO of $1.3K – $20.7K a year. We had no way until today to judge if their estimates are right or not or whether the low or high estimate was the right one. It now seems that at least in this one case, even the high number is an under estimate.

This is nowhere near enough data to generalize, but unless more reveal their earnings, it is the best guess that we have. So I thought I’d scale up the Social Blade estimates for all the other top earners in my list of ad supported fake Doomsday channels on YouTube by the same amount and see what it came to. The result was $1482.85K a year

If you add in all the numerous lower paid channels + the ones that have the statistics set to private, it begins to seem likely earnings from ads on these fake Doomsday videos are well over $1 million a year.


The reason this matters is that they make many people scared, with frequent panic attacks, and suicidal. In our Doomsday Debunked group on Facebook, and through PM’s we often hear from people who have actually contemplated suicide as a result of fake Doomsdays. Many are young children, in their teens, still at school. Many are young parents with their first child, and some of them contemplate suicide too. It is awful. 

When they eventually see through these stories and realize they are fake, still the continuing effects may have a huge impact on their lives. Some have become scared to leave their house. Many get frequent panic attacks, even after they realize it is nonsense, and it can take weeks to months to over a year to get over these. Most are receiving professional help in the form of medication and therapy. And many say they had normal lives before this, and only became scared as a result of the fake doomsdays. 


I estimated recently that our group sees less than a hundredth of those who are scared of fake doomsdays, probably less than a thousandth (see this post for the reasoning). Yet, typically we get many people panicking about one story or another most days of the year, and it is not uncommon to have posts and PM’s from members that are suicidal. 

It’s a rough estimate but the best we have. It suggests that the number of people panicking about a fake doomsday every day world wide, and receiving medication and therapy for their fear is probably well into the thousands and that the number who are suicidal every month (say) as a result of fake doomsdays is probably in the thousands as well. With figures like that, some of them may also succeed in killing themselves. 

And for thousands every day, their situation would be similar to many members of our group. Even with a lot of professional help from health professionals as well as support from members of our group debunking the fake doomsdays, the effects can lasts for weeks to over a year.

For young children and students it impacts on their ability to study. It affects their social lives, their relationships with their friends, relatives and partners, and their jobs. They may become reclusive. From experience talking to them via PM, it’s not unusual for them to spend hours a day “researching” into fake doomsdays when they could be with their family or partner, or doing their job or studying for school, or just having fun – and when not doing that, they find it difficult to function normally because they are scared all the time. It severely affects their mental well being for long periods of time. If they don’t seek help then the effects could blight their lives for many years.


We think that if YouTube was to examine this carefully they would agree that these are not channels that either they or their advertisers would wish to support financially with ad revenue.

Do share the petition and this update, see if we can get some attention.

To YouTube : Halt Ads on Doomsday Videos

See the reasons for signing given by previous signers.
And read the petition and sign it here 

You may also be interested in these other related petitions

Many of the YouTube videos are promoted by the “red top” tabloids such as the Daily Express, who seize on any viral sensationalist craze, and they get many clicks, views and ad clicks. Since stories from the Daily Express often occupies top slots in Google News, ranking higher in the page than legitimate astronomical news stories, they are often indirectly promoted as “news” too, reinforcing their apparent legitimacy on vulnerable young viewe

For more on this:

To Google, Apple and Facebook – please stop promoting fake red top tabloid news

See the reasons for signing given by previous signers.
And read the petition and sign it here 

Journalists too sometimes run these stories. A recent example was the fake 23rd April doomsday prophecy which was a journalistic invention by the Daily Express elaborating on a false prophecy by David Meade, based on a date he claimed to find encoded in the book of Revelation, as a prophecy of ‘Nibiru’. It was fake on so many levels.

Many papers including the Daily Mail and Fox News, not just the usual Sun, Daily Star, Daily Express, etc, they ran it too, without any qualification, just “as is” as news. They didn’t even bother to check a star chart which would have unearthed that the story falsely claimed that Jupiter, the Sun and Moon were all “in” the constellation Virgo on that day. In actual fact none of them were, and there were no planets in the constellation Virgo at all. Not that it would have had the slightest significance for sudden appearing of nonexistent planets buzzing Earth if they had been, but this shows clearly how it was just copy / pasted without any checking at all.

This was fake Doomsday at so many levels just copy / pasted across multiple papers from a source in the Daily Express a notoriously unreliable red top tabloid.

Journalists – you can do better than this!


To Journalists: Debunk Rather than Dramatize “Doomsday” Stories – Vulnerable Get Suicidal

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See the reasons for signing given by previous signers.
And read the petition and sign it here 

It is a whole ecosystem of the YouTube videos, journalists who don’t realize their articles are making readers suicidal, the promotion of fake doomsdays in news aggregates, and the viral sharing of all this in the social media such as Facebook, twitter and Reddit. Some of them also promote and sell books on Amazon and get sponsors via Patreon.

But the ad sponsored YouTube videos are one of the important components in the whole system.

Without the ad revenue supporting them, I think it would lead to a major reduction of the viral effects of these stories. And a million dollars total of ad revenue a year is a powerful financial incentive for some people to keep churning out these ad sponsored fake Doomsday videos day after day, week after week, competing for this yearly million dollar incentive unwittingly provided by YouTube and the advertisers.

Please help raise awareness of this issue, and share!

Any comments do say in the comments section below.

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