Facebook and YouTube are cracking down on the pervasive conspiracy theories linking the spread of coronavirus to 5G wireless technology.
Facebook on Monday announced it would begin to actively remove false claims that link COVID-19 to 5G and could lead to physical harm.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has reduced the number of accounts users can forward chats to from five to one.
“We are taking aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading on our platforms, and connect people to accurate information about coronavirus,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement provided to TechNewsWorld by company rep Andrea Vallone.
Facebook “will continue to work closely with governments and other tech companies to remove harmful misinformation,” the spokesperson noted. The company has partnered with health authorities like the World Health Organization and the UK National Health Service to connect people to the latest official guidance.
Meanwhile, Google-owned YouTube has banned all videos promoting 5G-coronavirus conspiracy theories.
Conspiracy Theories Rampant
One of the bogus theories circulating online ties the origin of the coronavirus in Wuhan to the rollout of 5G technology in the city.
Another claims that Bill Gates invented the false threat of pandemic to cover up the harm caused by 5G.
Five years ago, Gates warned about the danger of a pandemic, and his foundation has been funding research on a coronavirus vaccine.
A number of celebrities have echoed the false claims, including actor Woody Harrelson.
However, countries without 5G wireless, such as India, Iran, and African nations, also have been hit by the pandemic.
In the UK, conspiracy theory believers have threatened telecom engineers and burned cellular phone masts.
The mayor of Liverpool became a threat target after he condemned the 5G-coronavirus conspiracy theory.
UK lawmakers have suggested the rumors might be the work of organized disinformation campaigns.
In the United States, there’s speculation that Russia has been pushing the conspiracy theory through influencers.
“We know for a fact that Russian and Chinese agitators have been propagating this myth for some time,” said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
“It’s wrong to conflate the push towards 5G with the spread of coronavirus,” he told TechNewsWorld. “A real scientific debate and clinical trial should be put in play to prove or disprove this conspiracy theory.”