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YouTube pulls down conspiracy theory videos linking 5G to coronavirus

As social media platforms move to limit disinformation about the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, YouTube is doing its part by limiting content on conspiracy theories about 5G technology.

The Google-owned streaming giant will remove all videos falsely linking use of wireless communication technology to the spread of coronavirus since they violate YouTube’s policy and could  “misinform users in harmful ways,” a spokesperson told The Guardian.

“We also have clear policies that prohibit videos promoting medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent the coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment, and we quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged to us,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Guardian.

The move comes after a spree of attacks on 5G cell towers in the U.K. At least seven towers were set on fire in the U.K., with four of the towers damaged in the past 24 hours.

YouTube lede photo
Christian Wiediger/Unsplash

Other videos addressing conspiracy theories about 5G technology that do not mention coronavirus may be allowed to live on the platform but will not appear in search results and will lose ad revenue.

The false theory claims the pandemic was created in order to cover up deaths caused by 5G as nearly every telecommunications provider is updating infrastructure to make it accessible.

YouTube indicated it has flagged or removed thousands of coronavirus misinformation videos, not just about 5G but also those claiming to offer cures to the virus without sound medical expertise.

Currently, 5G towers are not widespread in the U.S., but mobile network providers in the U.K. like Vodafone and Orange pleaded with the public not to vandalize their cell phone towers because the “networks provide essential connectivity to our emergency services and the [National Health Service] — they enable families to check in on their isolated or vulnerable loved ones; parents to teach their children from home; and millions to be informed and entertained as they stay home.”

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Mythili Sampathkumar
Mythili is a freelance journalist based in New York. When not reporting about politics, foreign policy, entertainment, and…
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