As cell towers in the U.K. are attacked, YouTube is now moving to suppress the spread of coronavirus 5G conspiracy content on their platform.
In a statement made to The Guardian, a YouTube spokesperson had revealed that the Google-owned online company will be actively removing false content tying the COVID-19 pandemic with 5G technology. The spokesperson stated:
“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.”
They will also be limiting the amount of content they recommend to users related to conspiracy theories.
Not everything will be removed
YouTube clarified that they won’t be removing every 5G-related conspiracy theory from its website.
According to them, conspiratorial content regarding 5G mobile networks alone and without mentioning the coronavirus will be considered as “borderline content.” Instead, these videos would be suppressed by losing advertising revenue and the inability to be found on search results.
The 5G conspiracy
According to conspiracy theories, 5G, which is used in mobile networks, has a suppressing effect on the body’s immune system and that viruses are able to communicate and be transmitted through radio waves. Experts quickly shut down the ridiculous theories and labeled them as “complete nonsense.”
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) April 4, 2020
University of Reading’s Dr. Simon Clarke, who specializes in cellular microbiology, explains that the immune system can be affected by a number of things, such as exhaustion or a poor diet, and these can make a person more susceptible to contracting viruses.
For him, however, the very notion that 5G suppresses the immune system doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, saying that strong radio waves can indeed affect the immune system as it heats the body up, but 5G radio waves are not strong enough to do so.
5G radio waves are even weaker than visible light, which means they cannot damage the cells. Dr. Clarke adds:
“Radio waves can disrupt your physiology as they heat you up, meaning your immune system can’t function. But 5G radio waves are tiny and they are nowhere near strong enough to affect the immune system. There have been lots of studies on this.”
The harmful spread of misinformation
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has rendered the majority of the populations fearful of the virus. With nothing else to do during the lockdown, it’s not surprising that many were quick to believe the false claims of the conspiracy theories.
Not only that, but many were also quick to jump in on the discussion and spread false information, including celebrities such as Woody Harrelson, Amanda Holden, and boxer, Amir Khan.
Amir Khan says virus ‘man-made’ to kill elderly ‘while they test 5G’ https://t.co/5nnwGuVkA2
— The Independent (@Independent) April 5, 2020
The damage wrought by the conspiracy
The danger of the 5G coronavirus conspiracy is further proven when a number of phone masts and cell towers were targeted by anarchists in the U.K. As of this story’s publishing, seven cell towers were set alight in the U.K.
5G tower set on fire in Birmingham, Acocks Green pic.twitter.com/1GNe2xxJLF
— Official #1 Birmingham Page (@imjustbrum) April 2, 2020
Additionally, due to the fear that the 5G conspiracy theories had brought, people had begun harassing 5G installation workers.
Boosting coronavirus awareness
YouTube had earlier announced that it would be launching a new section on the website’s homepage that is dedicated to information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in the hopes of raising proper awareness regarding the spread of the virus, as well as promoting useful, life-saving information.
While it’s movement against the conspiracy theory linking 5G networks to the coronavirus can be considered as part of their awareness campaign, their reluctance to remove every 5G conspiracy theory highlights the inconsistent enforcement of their policies.