Twitter to block 5G conspiracy theories around Covid-19 and YouTube takes action against #Fakenews

24 April 2020 - 11:52 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Twitter is taking down tweets that 'incite harmful activity' and contribute to conspiracy theories about 5G mobile networks spreading Covid-19.
Twitter is taking down tweets that 'incite harmful activity' and contribute to conspiracy theories about 5G mobile networks spreading Covid-19.
Image: AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL

Twitter is taking down tweets that incite “harmful activity” and contribute to the conspiracy theories that 5G mobile networks spread Covid-19.

“We have broadened our guidance on unverified claims that incite people to engage in harmful activity, could lead to the destruction or damage of critical 5G infrastructure, or could lead to widespread panic, social unrest or large-scale disorder,” the app announced.

The move comes after unproven theories have been shared widely by social media users, including American singer Keri Hilson.

These conspiracy theories, according to an ABC news report, have also led to attacks on and the burning of 5G towers in some European countries.

In a blog post, Twitter said it was removing “unverified claims” that could lead to the destruction or damage of critical infrastructure or may be considered a violation of its policies.

Examples of this include tweets that falsely tell people that food is running out or that 5G wireless cause the spread of the coronavirus.

Online video-sharing platform YouTube has announced that it will follow suit by limiting content that spreads conspiracy theories. 

The Verge reported that YouTube “may allow other conspiracy-themed content about 5G which doesn’t mention the coronavirus to remain on the site as 'borderline content'."

“We also 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."

In SA, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize debunked the 5G claim, saying technology could not be linked to the infection, and that “only facts” would beat the coronavirus pandemic.

Mkhize said" “We’re dealing with a lot of fake news. The issue is 5G is technology and coronavirus is an organic infection. It’s not something you can link with 5G.

“We can’t go around scaring people because it is something we can fight and defeat. But we must do this with true information. Facts must fight Covid-19.”


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