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YouTube to limit spread of conspiracy theory linking COVID-19 to 5G: Report

YouTube will reduce the number of recommendations for videos that spread false claims that 5G technology is linked to coronavirus, The Guardian reported. YouTube will actively remove videos that breach its policies, the company said. However, it will allow content that is is simply conspiratorial about 5G technology and networks, but don’t mention coronavirus, to remain on the platform.

YouTube told the publication that it has clear policies that prohibit videos promoting medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment, and “we quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged to us”.

Numerous 5G masts in the UK have been set on fire the recent weeks. A video of one of the masts on fire was circulating online, and claimed a link between 5G networks and coronavirus. Mobile industry body GSMA urged internet giants, content providers and social media platforms to “accelerate their efforts” to remove fake news linking the two.

The conspiracy theory that 5G is linked to coronavirus claims that 5G suppresses the immune system, making people susceptible to the virus. The second rumour is that the virus can somehow be transmitted via radio waves. The conspiracy theories have been called “the worst kind of fake news” by a top representative of the UK’s National Health Services. COVID-19 is spread from person to person via small droplets that COVID-19 positive people spread through their sneeze, cough, or simply by exhaling.

UK Culture secretary Oliver Dowden will reportedly hold virtual meetings with representatives of several technology firms next week and demand that they be more aggressive in their response to the conspiracy theory.

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