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YouTube says it will suppress content promoting false 5G coronavirus conspiracy

5G masts have been set on fire in the UK

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube said it would reduce the number of videos it recommends to users on its platform which spread false claims that 5G technology is linked to the coronavirus, The Guardian reported.

The company said it will remove videos that violate its policies. It may allow other conspiracy-themed content about 5G which doesn’t mention the coronavirus to remain on the site as “borderline content.” Those videos could be suppressed and removed from search results.

At least seven cell towers have been set on fire in the past week in the UK — four in the past 24 hours— after online conspiracy theories have inaccurately claimed a link between the cell towers and the coronavirus pandemic. One of the towers set on fire wasn’t even a 5G mast.

A YouTube spokesperson told The Guardian it has “clear policies that prohibit videos promoting medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent the coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment,” adding that it had started “reducing recommendations of borderline content such as conspiracy theories related to 5G and coronavirus, that could misinform users in harmful ways.”