YouTube will suppress false content promoting the 5G coronavirus conspiracy

The coronavirus pandemic has fueled conspiracy theories all across different social media platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. Pseudo experts, social media celebrities and influencers are promoting one theory after another through messages, groups and media content, including a theory suggesting a baseless connection of the coronavirus to the 5G network, a new and superfast wireless technology. Pictures and video content of such theories have reached thousands on YouTube, one of the biggest video hosting platforms.

The conspiracy theory content is inspiring masses to take law in their own hands and act out against the 5G technology, in the UK. In the last 24 hours, over four 5G mast cell towers have been set on fire, and seven in total in just one week. One of the towers burnt was a regular cell tower, not even a 5G mast. The reason behind the chaos is the conspiracy theories inaccurately suggesting a link between the cell towers and the widespread coronavirus pandemic, even though there is no scientific link between the virus traveling through the 5G technology’s radio waves and infecting people. Many cell companies have faced a great economic loss due to the ongoing commotion against the towers and have reached out to social media platforms to restrict such content full of misinformation from reaching people, to cut down the conspiracy paranoia.

To combat the conspiracies, YouTube has taken a step to suppress the videos of such content. The Guardian reported that the popular social media platform has notably reduced the number of videos related to 5G technology from appearing in user’s recommendations, while maintaining a legal boundary. The social media platform believes this would decrease the overall popularity of the content and would limit its reach to people, reducing the overall effects.

In an interview with the Guardian, a YouTube spokesperson stated that the company has strict policies against generating content that promotes unsubstantial and unfounded medical methods to cure the coronavirus, as it could potentially be harmful to the viewers and users. The spokesperson also appealed that a connection between radio waves and a virus is simply not possible.

Moreover, to efficiently curb the increase in theories targeting 5G technology, the YouTube management stated that they would remove all videos and content that violate the social media platform’s policies, especially policies of spreading misinformation and creating chaos through posting ill-informed content. This includes the rising number of 5G-corona conspiracy theory videos and anti-5G groups on the social platform. Picture and video content related to the generalized 5G conspiracies, which do not include the coronavirus will remain on the social media platform, however, they too are disliked by the YouTube management and filtered under “borderline content”. The company is considering removing them from the search results to decrease the spread of unsubstantiated content.

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