Facebook, YouTube and other social networks are trying to remove a video containing conspiracy theories about the new viral epidemic, highlighting the challenges of censoring online content. The nearly 26-minute video, part of a series of clips released before a documentary called “Plandemic” airs, which producers say “will expose the scams run by the scientific and political elites, our global health system.”
In the video, controversial former medical researcher Judy Mikovits repeats conspiracy theories about the new coronavirus pandemic, including wearing a mask that makes people sick because it can expose people to their “reactivated coronavirus expression.” Mikovits’s comments contradict edgy recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The center says everyone should wear a mask to prevent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.
A Facebook spokesman said in a statement: “The suggestion that wearing a mask can make you sick can lead to imminent harm, so we are deleting this video.” “
Mikovits, an outspoken critic of dr. Anthony Fauci, a prominent Infectious Disease expert in the United States, also suggested that the virus was designed to be based on nature. Scientists generally believe that the virus is transmitted from animals to humans. The U.S. intelligence community has previously publicly expressed its belief that the virus is not man-made or genetically modified.
The video says the actual death toll in the u.S. is not reported because doctors are encouraged to say that their patients died of the virus to get funding for the National Health Insurance Program. However, there is no evidence that the number of confirmed cases is exaggerated.
Google-owned YouTube is removing videos that violate its rules, although it could still be found on the platform late Thursday afternoon local time. A YouTube spokesman said the company would remove COVID-19 videos that included “medically unsubstantiated diagnostic recommendations.” On Monday and Tuesday, the Plandemic video was viewed 4.7 million times on YouTube, according to social media tool BuzzNews.
Twitter said it was blocking hashtags such as “PlagueOfCorruption” and “Plandemicmovie” from searches and trends. Mikovits posted a video on Twitter urging U.S. President Donald Trump to end the blockade and stop asking people to wear masks, calling them “dangerous.” Twitter said the tweet did not violate its rule against harmful new viral misinformation, but said her video link was marked as unsafe, limiting its spread. The company also marked the link to the documentary site as unsafe. Still, the Plandemic video will be available on Twitter later Thursday.
Despite these efforts, the Plandemic video continues to appear, including on Facebook. Some Facebook users shared the video in public groups, but linked to other sites that aren’t as well known as YouTube or documentary sites.
It turns out that keeping videos out on social media is a game for tech companies to censor content. Social networks have been working to crack down on false information, directing users to more trusted sources of information, including the CDC and the World Health Organization.
Mikki Willis, the filmmaker behind the Plandemic video, said in an email that he did not plan to appeal the deletion of the video, but was “developing a strategy to bypass the gatekeepers.”