Instagram And YouTube Have Been Accused Of “Moral Failure” Over Covid-19 Conspiracy Sales
On Tuesday, BuzzFeed News revealed how a network of conspiracy theorists was profiting from a hoax that 5G cellular technology is spreading COVID-19, selling a USB stick they falsely claimed offered protection from 5G radiation and infection from the coronavirus.
YouTube said it would reduce the spread of anti-5G content on its platform, while Facebook said it now considers any content linking 5G technology to the coronavirus as harmful.
However, the new research suggests that social media giants are still struggling to get to grips with the growing problem.
“Coronavirus misinformation, conspiracism and quack cures have been tolerated by social media companies for far too long despite the clear threat they pose to the safety of individuals and our society as a whole,” said Imran Ahmed, Chief Executive of CCDH.
“In their press statements, Instagram and YouTube clearly claim to recognise the danger of coronavirus misinformation. This further aggravates their moral failure to act in stopping dangerous messages from reaching millions of people.”
Ahmed called on ministers to take action. “The government needs to consider every measure available to them and, if necessary, legislating further, to ensure companies and executive who are enabling coronavirus misinformation are forced to act meaningfully, immediately and effectively,” he said. “The time for excuses is over.”
Other accounts promoting misinformation about the coronavirus sell merchandise alongside.
An Instagram account called Project Knowledge, which links to a page selling conspiracy-themed clothing, has almost half a million followers and has posted about coronavirus being a Chinese plot, describing it as a “plandemic” linked to “an electronic ID program that uses generalized vaccination as a platform for digital identity.”
One post linking coronavirus to 5G mobile networks was removed by Instagram, but others remain on the platform.
The account’s biography included a link to a website called Choq, apparently based in Texas, which sells vitamin supplements called Choq.