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Facebook, YouTube remove viral ‘Plandemic’ conspiracy video

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook and YouTube have removed a video that made medically unsubstantiated claims relating to the coronavirus pandemic and various other conspiracy theories.
The 26-minute video dubbed ‘Plandemic’ went viral this week across social media platforms. It features Judy Mikovits, a controversial former medical researcher who repeats conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic and contends that many common vaccines are dangerous.
Mikovits says in the video that wearing masks activates the coronavirus within people, without providing evidence, and criticises orders to stay away from beaches. “Suggesting that wearing a mask can make you sick could lead to imminent harm, so we’re removing the video,” Facebook said in a statement.
In the video, Mikovits also describes the coronavirus as a conspiracy among people trying to profit from vaccines and raises concerns about vaccines. She says anyone who has ever received a flu vaccine had a coronavirus injected into them, without providing substantiation.

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Mikovits, a vocal critic of Dr. Anthony Fauci, an expert on infectious diseases, also suggested the virus had been engineered, saying it was not a “natural occurrence” while scientists widely believe the virus jumped from animals to human beings in a wet market in China that sold exotic wildlife.
YouTube said it was working to keep the video off its service in accordance with its rules against “content that includes medically unsubstantiated diagnostic advice” about the coronavirus and the related respiratory illness COVID-19.
Despite these efforts, slightly edited copies of the original video remained available on YouTube. Plandemic videos continue to pop up on Facebook with some users were sharing the video in public groups.

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Twitter said it had blocked users from using the hashtags #PlagueOfCorruption and #Plandemicmovie, but said that content in a shorter clip did not violate its policy against COVID-19 misinformation.
Mikovits tweeted a video in which she urged President Donald Trump to end the lockdown and stop requiring people to wear masks, calling the face coverings dangerous.
The companies have been under pressure from the World Health Organisation and other health authorities around the world to police harmful content and misinformation about the pandemic.
While the companies have dedicated workers to address the challenge, misinformation continues to flow, including from groups growing frustrated with business closures and stay-at-home orders and taking to social media to argue against them.
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