YouTube will penalize videos that relate 5G to the coronavirus

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Angela Lang / CNET

For the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

YouTube has added a new conspiracy to its “limit” playlist. It’s about the false theory that next generation 5G mobile networks are linked to the spread of new coronavirus and to the respiratory disease it causes, COVID-19. That means Google-owned YouTube will reduce referrals to those videos, which can significantly reduce the number of times they are viewed.

However, YouTube, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, did not go as far as completely banning videos that talk about that false theory.

While YouTube is removing videos promoting unsubstantiated medical methods to prevent coronavirus, “we have also started to cut back on content limit recommendations, such as 5G and coronavirus-related conspiracy theories, which could potentially misinform users” YouTube said in a statement.

As coronavirus and COVID-19 have proliferated worldwide, so has false or misinformation about the pandemic, including the belief by many that radio waves to transmit 5G data have something to do with the virus or disease.

That false theory has led, for example, to attacks on telephone towers in the United Kingdom, where medical authorities have dismissed that belief as “total and absolute rubbish”, and telephone operators have directly asked people to stop burning towers, attacks that could undermine connectivity when more people need it.

YouTube said in its statement that it will continue to assess the impact of these videos, working with UK health and government authorities to help keep the public safe and informed.


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