YouTube bans videos claiming that 5G signals caused the spread of coronavirus
It's getting hard to know exactly what to do if you believe that you're infected with the coronavirus. Even with the conflicting answers, one thing we know that you should not do is inject yourself with Clorox like President Donald Trump suggested the other day. 30 people in New York were reportedly treated in New York City on Friday after they drank Clorox or another disinfectant cleaner. Trump also has championed anti-malaria and lupus medication hydroxychloroquine even though there is no proof that the medication helps those with coronavirus.
YouTube is removing videos making false claims about COVID-19 cures and the origin of the coronavirus
People are scared and as a result, they are clinging to hope. This makes them less likely to make common-sense decisions. To help them avoid bogus cures, YouTube has started banning content that contradicts the findings of the World Health Organization. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki says that its new policy bans "anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations."
Talking to CNN, the executive said, "So people saying, 'Take vitamin C, take turmeric, we'll cure you,' those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy." She joked that YouTube has so many videos of hand-washing, something that she never thought that she would see. Also, she reports a 75% increase in news coming from legitimate sources. But Wojcicki also notes that YouTube is "removing information that is false and "medically unsubstantiated."
Wojcicki points out that removing videos that violate YouTube policies is not unique and that even before the pandemic, the platform had community guidelines that had to be adhered to. The executive pointed out that the difference with the current crisis is that COVID-19 is fast-moving. She also brought up the recent unsubstantiated claim that 5G cell towers are the cause of coronavirus. Since no reputable organization can prove that there is a connection, YouTube took down any video that promoted that theory.
YouTube's CEO said that the behavior of users has changed as the number of those infected and killed by coronavirus has risen. At first, users sought basic information about the coronavirus. Next came demand for videos to help those coping with having to stay at home. Now, YouTubers are watching videos that help them get things done while quarantined such as exercise videos, or videos that show them how to fix appliances and cut hair; the last two are tasks that users would ordinarily rely on professionals to take care of but can't in the world that we now find ourselves living in. People are learning to do things for themselves while taking the time to improve themselves by learning an instrument or a new language. And YouTube can help them find someone to teach them these things while staying safely at home.
The bottom line, according to Wojcicki is that COVID-19 has caused public health organizations to speed up the process of getting legitimate information to consumers online. Of course, it doesn't help when day after day the public is led astray by politicians eager to put their constituents' lives on the line in exchange for a better economy. And when this information is broadcast on television daily, it drowns out the legitimate information found on YouTube.
Besides YouTube, just the other day we told you that Twitter promised to "amplify authoritative, official content around the globe" about COVID-19. In a statement, the company said, "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."
If all social media sites agree to delete conspiracy theories and wild, dangerous claims about COVID-19, it just might prevent someone from dying after drinking bleach or from taking dangerous medications.