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Facebook takes down viral ‘Plandemic’ coronavirus conspiracy video

Facebook removed the viral conspiracy video “Plandemic” from its platform Thursday for violating misinformation policies, the company told Digital Trends.

The 25-minute clip from a supposed upcoming documentary was posted on Facebook on Monday and had racked up 1.8 million views, including 17,000 comments and nearly 150,000 shares.

The video is entitled “Plandemic” and features filmmaker Mikki Willis and a former chronic fatigue researcher well-known within the anti-vaccination movement, Dr. Judy Mikovits — who has largely been discredited in the scientific community. 

The misleading video speculates that the spread of COVID-19 was planned by billionaires to enforce worldwide vaccinations. It also draws critiques of Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and his response to the pandemic, misusing comments he made about the virus’s ability to mutate out of context. 

Digital Trends contacted Facebook about the video and a spokesperson said the video would be removed

“Suggesting that wearing a mask can make you sick could lead to imminent harm, so we’re removing the video,” the spokesperson said. By Thursday afternoon, the video was taken down.

The video had been spreading rapidly across social media this week, routinely being taken down for violating community guidelines on platforms like YouTube in under 24 hours.

Doctors themselves, like Zubin Damania, have been posting their own reaction videos on YouTube about the viral clip, calling it “horrible, conspiracy nonsense.”

Digital Trends reached out to YouTube to comment on moderation of the video. We’ll update this story when we hear back.

Clips of the documentary have been shared throughout social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, as well as by influencers with six-digit follower counts, garnering millions of views. The hashtag #PlandemicDocumentary was one of the top trending topics in the U.S. on Twitter Thursday.

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YouTube announced last week it would be expanding its fact-checking efforts, targeting coronavirus misinformation “that comes up quickly as part of a fast-moving news cycle, where unfounded claims and uncertainty about facts are common.”

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Meira Gebel
Meira Gebel is a freelance reporter based in Portland. She writes about tech, social media, and internet culture for Digital…
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