Brenton Tarrant, the Australian terrorist who massacred 51 people in two mosques, may have been motivated and persuaded to do so by YouTube content, a report by The New Zealand Royal Commission claims.

According to the report, Tarrant, who committed the murders in 2019, believed that “YouTube was...a far more significant source of information and inspiration” than other outlets and is suspected to have “subscribed to right-wing channels on YouTube.” The report also claims that Tarrant used YouTube content to enhance and modify his weapons.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is extremely concerned with the role the video-sharing platform played in influencing Tarrant’s attack. Ardern also plans to reach out to YouTube to discuss the matter.

“What particularly stood out was the statement that the terrorist made that he was ‘not a frequent commentator on extreme right-wing sites and YouTube was a significant source of information and inspiration,'” Ardern said, as reported by CNBC. “This is a point I plan to make directly to the leadership of YouTube.”

While Tarrant denied being a frequent right-wing site participant, the commission found that he often viewed similar conservative content and that his exposure may have impacted his actions.

“He also spent much time accessing broadly similar material on YouTube,” the report read. “His exposure to such content may have contributed to his actions on 15 March 2019 — indeed, it is plausible to conclude that it did.”

YouTube, which saw videos of the attack published to its platform, has yet to review the report but said it remains “committed to removing violent extremism and hate speech” from its site.

A YouTube spokesperson told CNBC: “We look forward to reviewing the report in detail and continue our work together with the Prime Minister, as well as governments, industry partners, and communities around the world to combat the spread of violent extremism online.”

Tarrant, now 30, was sentenced to life in jail without parole in August.

Brenton Tarran
Brenton Tarrant was sentenced to life without parole for the mosque attacks in 2019 that killed 51 Muslim worshippers. POOL / JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON