YouTube will delete videos that falsely link 5G to the novel coronavirus after reports of people setting phone masts on fire
YouTube will reduce the number of videos on its platform that groundlessly link 5G technology to the spread of COVID-19.
A YouTube spokeswoman told Business Insider that the video-sharing site will actively remove videos that breach its policies.
“We 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,” she said.
“We’re committed to providing timely and helpful information at this critical time, including raising authoritative content, reducing the spread of harmful misinformation and showing information panels, using NHS and WHO data, to help combat misinformation.”
The spokeswoman added that YouTube could let “borderline” content on 5G-related conspiracy theories stay on the site provided it doesn’t mention coronavirus, though it could still be suppressed and removed from search results.
A theory that 5G, which should bring faster mobile connectivity, is somehow connected to the coronavirus has proliferated across social media.
The UK has witnessed several unsavory incidents related to the theories, including attacks on 5G communications masts, including setting them alight.
At least seven masts have been attacked, and telecoms engineers have reportedly been abused in the street. One of the cell towers attacked wasn’t even a 5G mast.
British celebrities like the boxer Amir Khan and TV presenter Amanda Holden – as well as Hollywood star Woody Harrelson – have shared content linking 5G to coronavirus on social media, prompting the UK’s Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to lambast the theories as “just nonsense – dangerous nonsense, as well.”