26 votes

YouTube has banned all conspiracy theory videos falsely linking coronavirus symptoms to 5G networks

31 comments

  1. [10]
    rogue_cricket
    Link
    The idea that content hosts are ethically obligated to host ALL content is so destructive and so pervasive. I'm glad that YouTube is taking a stronger stand here. These people are certainly free...

    The idea that content hosts are ethically obligated to host ALL content is so destructive and so pervasive. I'm glad that YouTube is taking a stronger stand here. These people are certainly free to have communities, but they don't have a right to have one on YouTube specifically.

    17 votes
    1. [4]
      chkiss
      Link Parent
      I agree. I also think that content hosts should have to establish clear structures of authority, transparent processes, and have accountability at the individual level. Simply announcing a policy...

      I agree. I also think that content hosts should have to establish clear structures of authority, transparent processes, and have accountability at the individual level.

      Simply announcing a policy related to one topic (COVID-19) and pulling down videos after the BBC flags them does not inspire confidence that this power is established in a thoughtful way that cannot be easily abused.

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        rogue_cricket
        Link Parent
        It certainly would be good, yes. At the same time I am willing to grant some amount of flexibility - we can't expect publishers and moderators to be "dumb" rules machines because that brings its...

        It certainly would be good, yes. At the same time I am willing to grant some amount of flexibility - we can't expect publishers and moderators to be "dumb" rules machines because that brings its own set of troubles. Flexibility allows you to ban a troublesome user who breaks the spirit of a rule via some technical loophole, or stop overeager application of the policy in a way it wasn't intended to be used (i.e., banning LGBT+ users who mention their sexuality at all for being "explicit").

        Honestly I think a lot of tension comes from these huge platforms acting as almost de facto public platforms rather than the private entities they are. It's frustrating that we've gotten to this point at all, frankly.

        4 votes
        1. chkiss
          Link Parent
          I agree on flexibility too! Nothing about establishing transparent procedures with accountability means "remove all videos that have nipples in them." People are the solution to this problem, no...

          I agree on flexibility too! Nothing about establishing transparent procedures with accountability means "remove all videos that have nipples in them." People are the solution to this problem, no matter how much computers will be able to aid them.Those people can even make mistakes by missing videos or accidentally pulling down good ones. But without transparency, we're worse off with the censorship than without it.

          1 vote
      2. Equinsu_Ocha
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        "People will think what I tell them to think" - Charles Foster Kane (Citizen Kane) Youtube, Twitter, Reddit, CNN, Fox, NBC, and other social and television media all have policies that make me...

        "People will think what I tell them to think" - Charles Foster Kane (Citizen Kane)

        Youtube, Twitter, Reddit, CNN, Fox, NBC, and other social and television media all have policies that make me think of this quote from this old movie. When there is not a clear cut policy other than "I don't like what they're saying" then that is always going to be an abuse of power.

        3 votes
    2. [5]
      Equinsu_Ocha
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I disagree. People can decide for themselves when content creators do quality journalism with more trusted sources. Don't force silent one group or it will give them more firepower and more clout...

      I disagree. People can decide for themselves when content creators do quality journalism with more trusted sources. Don't force silent one group or it will give them more firepower and more clout when others find out they're being silenced. Instead make fun of them, anyone who takes themselves too seriously will lose authority. Crazies will always be out there. You can't and don't want a "perfect" world, just a fair one.

      If anything, people should be citing their sources better so that we know exactly where they are coming from. When both "legitimate" and "illegitmate" news give almost no citations or put sources out of context, then it's no wonder you get more people going the conspiracy theory route. If the media educated the public better, bullshit stories wouldn't have a base to stand on.

      1. [2]
        rogue_cricket
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        This is not being unfairly censored or being "told what to think", this is equivalent of the manager at McDonald's removing someone for distributing flyers about the "gay agenda" to other...

        This is not being unfairly censored or being "told what to think", this is equivalent of the manager at McDonald's removing someone for distributing flyers about the "gay agenda" to other customers. Or it's a newspaper receiving a Letter To The Editor from an anti-vaxxer who thinks we should all start kissing each other on the mouth instead of social distancing... and simply not publishing it.

        Some ideas and opinions at their very core are threatening and dangerous, no matter how many sources they cite or how politely they are phrased. They serve to disseminate dangerous misinformation - like the idea that you should have a Coronavirus party as though it's Chicken Pox and the '70s. Or they contribute incrementally to dehumanize groups of people, which can lead to emboldening those who would do political or physical violence against them. These platforms serve as meeting places and recruitment points for radical groups; often those groups are even explicit about their radicalization pipeline.

        The people who believe these lies are not the people who are receptive to Liberal Internet Snark to begin with. (Think about this too - when was the last time you changed your mind because some conservative with an anime profile pic trolling someone on Twitter made a great point?) Instead we have seen the exact opposite - letting these people congregate and spread extreme ideas and radicalize each other on major media platforms has made them more numerous and further empowered them. It brings in people who would otherwise be borderline OK.

        If snark could have saved these people it certainly would have by now.

        15 votes
        1. Equinsu_Ocha
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          The information from all sides is there for people to see. I think you got to dig down pretty far to find someone advocating for a "Coronavirus Party" and honestly if people believe that, they...

          The information from all sides is there for people to see. I think you got to dig down pretty far to find someone advocating for a "Coronavirus Party" and honestly if people believe that, they kind of need to be out of the gene pool just like that idiot who drank pool cleaner that had Hydroxychloroquine in it.
          The worlds not a safe place and there should never be a guarantee that it is 100% safe because you always give up freedom when you seek comfort.

          Adults aren't a bunch of children that need to be herded about. We are much more educated and informed than or parents or grandparents and it's not because we have people filtering out what can and can't be talked about. We have a much wider range of ideas and consciousness about how our actions affect others than 20, 40, 100 years ago (which is a very fast change in a short time in human history).

          What you want stifles innovation and creates a small group that can control what information can be seen which inevitably leads to that small group controlling knowledge and destroying diversity of thought. It's always been the wild west, go suck your thumb and stay in your room or go outside deal with it. Nobody else should have to suffer just because you're too fragile.

      2. [2]
        vorotato
        Link Parent
        Clearly this is an example that proves they aren't capable.

        Clearly this is an example that proves they aren't capable.

        15 votes
        1. Equinsu_Ocha
          Link Parent
          The number one job of the media is to educate the public and they do an extremely poor job of it. Because we have the internet and all kinds of ideas out there, people are free to find the...

          The number one job of the media is to educate the public and they do an extremely poor job of it. Because we have the internet and all kinds of ideas out there, people are free to find the information themselves. We have to think critically about what we are reading and sift through the bullshit but we've come a long way since having the 2-3 TV news channels where we got all our information from.

  2. [3]
    goodbetterbestbested
    Link
    Good. Now do this with the "white genocide" videos that are doing just as much harm.

    Good. Now do this with the "white genocide" videos that are doing just as much harm.

    18 votes
    1. drawkcab
      Link Parent
      And the conspiracy videos trying to convince people to visit your hospital and start it as a trending title. These videos are also made by the same people making the 5G conspiracy.

      And the conspiracy videos trying to convince people to visit your hospital and start it as a trending title. These videos are also made by the same people making the 5G conspiracy.

      8 votes
    2. bleem
      Link Parent
      they need a team of many people to respond to all these videos. youtube is a platform for all that shit

      they need a team of many people to respond to all these videos. youtube is a platform for all that shit

  3. [18]
    determinism
    Link
    This is a tangentially related question that came to mind a while ago that I've never been able to investigate with a quick google/DDG search without encountering 5G conspiracy theorists: Would it...

    This is a tangentially related question that came to mind a while ago that I've never been able to investigate with a quick google/DDG search without encountering 5G conspiracy theorists:

    Would it be possible to coordinate several cell phone towers to produce harmful EMF at some particular position? I'm guessing the answer is no, they either don't have enough power to do this or they do but they would have to be ridiculously close together. If the answer is generally yes, that would be both interesting and terrifying.

    6 votes
    1. [17]
      vakieh
      Link Parent
      Due to the inverse-square rule, this is physically impossible. If the radiation that is experienced 10m away from a source is 100 units, then the radiation experienced 20m away from the source is...

      Due to the inverse-square rule, this is physically impossible. If the radiation that is experienced 10m away from a source is 100 units, then the radiation experienced 20m away from the source is 25 units, not 50. At 100m it is 1 unit.

      This means that if you wanted to try and create a point where the radiation experienced in a particular point is damaging, then you would simultaneously need to create damaging radiation in a much larger area than you might expect - because the additive effect of having multiple towers surrounding a point would be massively out-paced by that square property.

      There is a possible avenue where you could use some filtering or wave-interference to change radiation from a harmless frequency to a harmful one, but that would be so complex and specific it would be easier to make a conspiracy to shoot the person 72 times in the back and then pitch it as a suicide.

      16 votes
      1. [9]
        arp242
        Link Parent
        Yet that is still enough to make phones work, browse the internet, etc. I don't think it's implausible that this kind of radiation has some effect on the brain. After all, neurons fire electrical...

        Yet that is still enough to make phones work, browse the internet, etc. I don't think it's implausible that this kind of radiation has some effect on the brain. After all, neurons fire electrical signals, right?

        The whole "cell phones cause [brain cancer, coronavirus, ...]" and this kind of conspiracy nonsense is a massive distraction of course, but I'm not so convinced there are zero side-effects; some studies hint there may be some effects. You of course need to be careful with reading too much in a single study, but there have been some others as well; I'm not sure if there are good meta-studies, lat time I checked I couldn't find any.

        It's really hard (almost impossible) to prove something to be safe, but I'm not so sure that "roll it out at a massive scale until conclusively proven harmful" is really such a good idea; didn't always work out that great in the past. To be honest, I think it would be wiser to be cautious, even with just a small chance of risk: we lose little (a little bit faster internet), and there are potentially large risks which may not be obvious for decades.

        3 votes
        1. [5]
          vakieh
          Link Parent
          This is the point where I stop and say - go study it and understand it, or listen to those that have and do. Taking the radical centrist point of 'I'm not one of those conspiracy theorists but we...

          Yet that is still enough to make phones work, browse the internet, etc.

          This is the point where I stop and say - go study it and understand it, or listen to those that have and do. Taking the radical centrist point of 'I'm not one of those conspiracy theorists but we don't know enough' is damaging, because we do know enough, but that doesn't mean that that understanding is accessible for everyone. Even in the worst possible scenario 5G is safer than many things that you are around daily, and don't even mention stepping foot in a hospital for an x-ray. There is background radiation all around you even before human-generated radiation comes into the picture. That study has no relation to 5G.

          36 votes
          1. [3]
            arp242
            Link Parent
            I explicitly said conspiracy theorists are nonsense, but also pointed out there are studies which suggest there may be some effect, and that there is a possible mechanism of action. That EM...

            I explicitly said conspiracy theorists are nonsense, but also pointed out there are studies which suggest there may be some effect, and that there is a possible mechanism of action. That EM radiation can interfere with brain function is mainstream and uncontroversial science; whether long-term exposure to wide-spread radio frequencies can affect the brain is currently unknown, with no clear consensus.

            Much of the research focused on cancer, which it almost certainly doesn't cause (again, massive distraction fuelled by conspiracy nonsense), but there may be subtle effects which may take years be conclusively demonstrate; as was the case for a lot of toxins in the past. There may be no effect, either; we simply don't know for sure. If there are any effect then they're probably not life-threatening as cancer, but it may affect cognitive ability for example. The question is, what are the risks and how much risk do we want to take just to get faster internet and better cell phone coverage?

            X-rays are harmful, which is why we do our best to limit out exposure to them; they're also much higher energy ionising radiation causing much more immediate risks (cancer), which is something completely different than what I'm talking about.

            Background radiation can also be harmful (depending on which kind, dosage, etc.) but also not something we can do much about. It doesn't strike me as a great argument to just introduce new radiation, which is something that is in our control.

            The study looked at 2.5GHz (WiFi) radiation, which is not 5G, but I was talking about EM radiation in general, not just 5G. I actually haven't even looked at 5G specifically much as I've been rather busy in the last year.

            To be honest, I think your reply is a rather uncharitably interpretation of what I actually said, and somewhat condescending to boot. As soon as you say something that vaguely agrees with some conspiracy theorist you're lobbed in that group (as a "radical centrist", in this case), never mind that the actual reasoning behind it is completely different, but apparently the first sentence is enough to draw conclusions 🤷‍♂️

            Sometimes, the reasoning can be dead wrong, but the conclusion still (vaguely) correct; a good example of this is Alex Jones' famous "they're making the frogs gay", which is actual a serious concern due to hormones being released in the water; everything else he said was crazy of course, but his conclusion was still "correct" (in a way).

            11 votes
            1. [2]
              skybrian
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I am generally in favor of acknowledging uncertainty. I think it's quite possible that we (meaning some of us discussing this on Tildes) don't know enough, but others may know more. This should be...

              I am generally in favor of acknowledging uncertainty. I think it's quite possible that we (meaning some of us discussing this on Tildes) don't know enough, but others may know more. This should be a reason for curiosity.

              I'm not sure it's enough to say that the 5g rollout should be stopped, because some of us don't understand it well. How many people need to understand it for the rollout to proceed?

              If you want to look into it further, a good question to investigate would be how background radiation quantitatively compares with the signals being detected by cell phones. Having some actual numbers might be useful?

              14 votes
              1. arp242
                Link Parent
                oh yeah, sure; I'll gladly defer to others with more intimate knowledge, but to the best of my knowledge, there is no strong consensus that it doesn't cause any effects (harmful or otherwise) at...

                oh yeah, sure; I'll gladly defer to others with more intimate knowledge, but to the best of my knowledge, there is no strong consensus that it doesn't cause any effects (harmful or otherwise) at this moment (but there is, of course, a strong consensus that it doesn't cause cancer, and the whole corona angle is silly beyond belief and hardly requires addressing, much less scientific research).

                There is another issue at play here that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere: the one of consent.

                Ideally, I should not be subjected to anything I don't consent to. Of course, absolute consent is absurd and impossible, so we need to weigh the pros and cons of individual cases. As someone who never owned a car in his life, I don't especially care to being exposed to particulates from car exhausts (something which has been shown to be quite harmful), but I also appreciate that I'm a minority, and can't deny that cars also provide great value to many people. Getting rid of cars because a small minority doesn't consent would be silly.

                But in general, I think we should do our best to adhere to the basic principle when reasonable.

                Now, how many people need to revoke consent to being subjected to 5G in order to stop it? 1%? 5%? 20%? 51%? I don't have a clear answer on this, but subjecting, say, 10% of the population to radiation they are uncomfortable with just to get some faster internet (unlike cars, the benefits are much smaller) actually strikes me as rather ethically problematic. Whether these concerns are "true" or not are, I think, besides the point here. I don't think I need to explain myself to withdrawn consent.

                That said, people being scared by misinformation makes things rather hard here, and you could perhaps argue there is no "informed consent"; consent can be overridden in cases where someone isn't deemed capable of giving it, such as children, certain mental states, etc. But is this the case here? I'm not so sure...

                I don't really have clear answers on any of this, but I also don't think it can just all be hand-waved away and dismissed, either. If we are to dismiss it, we should probably have a good think and debate about it first.

                1 vote
          2. minimaltyp0s
            Link Parent
            Oh my God. This is so perfectly and succinctly put. I feel like this answers so much of what has come out of the sewer of the internet over the past few years. Thank you!

            Taking the radical centrist point of 'I'm not one of those conspiracy theorists but we don't know enough' is damaging, because we do know enough, but that doesn't mean that that understanding is accessible for everyone.

            Oh my God.

            This is so perfectly and succinctly put. I feel like this answers so much of what has come out of the sewer of the internet over the past few years. Thank you!

            13 votes
        2. [3]
          emdash
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Yeah. It's not nearly as simple as "non-ionizing radiation has no harmful effects". There's evidence to suggest exposure to blue-light—which is non-ionizing—accelerates macular degeneration in...

          Yeah. It's not nearly as simple as "non-ionizing radiation has no harmful effects". There's evidence to suggest exposure to blue-light—which is non-ionizing—accelerates macular degeneration in your eye.

          That's not to say 5G causes cancer, or even more stupidly, COVID-19, but there's nuance to the interaction between the electromagnetic spectrum and human physiology, and the more studies we can get that conclusively demonstrate in every way possible that radio communication frequencies pose no harm to the human body, the better.

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            Rocket_Man
            Link Parent
            I realize we're getting into some more nuanced stuff. But I think it's important to point out the retina is a sensory system for radiation and so extreme exposure causing damage isn't particularly...

            I realize we're getting into some more nuanced stuff. But I think it's important to point out the retina is a sensory system for radiation and so extreme exposure causing damage isn't particularly surprising. Applying that to the non-ionizing discussion. In terms of radiation effecting cognition isnt the best example.

            9 votes
            1. emdash
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I never implied that radiation affected cognition, I merely provided a counterpoint to the often dismissive "tech bro" demographic that often state that because something is labelled...

              I never implied that radiation affected cognition, I merely provided a counterpoint to the often dismissive "tech bro" demographic that often state that because something is labelled "non-ionizing", it has no effect on the body whatsoever, when that isn't true.

              And, regarding our retina being a sensory system: yes. It is. It's also part of our body, and therefore falls under the category of human physiology, as I mentioned. Different body parts perform different functions and have different optimal functioning conditions—our testes rise and fall with ambient temperature, our eyes react to light, our ears respond to pressure waves, our organs are exposed to different things and perform different duties. That's precisely the point of why I'm saying more studies are always better: the human body is complex. So pragmatically and holistically, carving out an 'exception' because our eyes are different is a kind of a meaningless statement.

              3 votes
      2. [7]
        mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        So microwave ovens causing cancer are also a myth?

        So microwave ovens causing cancer are also a myth?

        1. [6]
          JakeTheDog
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Correct. The root cause of cancer is genetic defect. This could be inherited or environmental. Environmental causes need a way to "access" DNA, to damage it in a way that could cause cancer (most...

          So microwave ovens causing cancer are also a myth?

          Correct.

          The root cause of cancer is genetic defect. This could be inherited or environmental. Environmental causes need a way to "access" DNA, to damage it in a way that could cause cancer (most DNA damage does not cause cancer). Ionizing radiation can "penetrate" cells and hit the DNA or the surrounding water molecules, ionize it and start a chemical reaction that results in DNA damage (DNA is just another chemical/molecule, after all). More technically, ionizing radiation has wavelengths short enough to eject electrons from atoms and makes those atoms into ions, which are chemically reactive.

          Non-ionizing radiation has a much harder time accessing DNA, and is generally easily absorbed by e.g. water and air. This is because of the size of its waves. As a result of it's large wavelengths (approx > 1 mm, which is where infrared transitions to microwave), non-ionizing radiation, such as infrared, deposits it's energy onto objects as heat. With RF you would have to stand pretty close to a high-power emitter to feel this, or get a burn from it. But that would still be at the surface of your skin. You probably wouldn't even get skin cancer unless you had severe burns, and even then it would only be chance (and less that a sunburn).

          So, basically, anything non-ionizing has the effect of heating things up. In order for it to cause cancer, you would have to basically cook yourself to the point where the DNA is damaged, but at that point you'll probably be dead anyways.

          9 votes
          1. [5]
            mrbig
            Link Parent
            What about living unprotected on Mars's surface? That oughta do it, right?

            What about living unprotected on Mars's surface? That oughta do it, right?

            1. Weldawadyathink
              Link Parent
              Yeah, but the issue there is different radiation. The sun does send out radio and microwaves, but those are not an issue. The issue is high energy particles from the sun and other systems in the...

              Yeah, but the issue there is different radiation. The sun does send out radio and microwaves, but those are not an issue. The issue is high energy particles from the sun and other systems in the galaxy. Those are almost entirely blocked by the earth’s magnetosphere and atmosphere, but mars has neither of those. If you were on mars surface fully protected from those forms of radiation but fully exposed to the sun’ s micro and radio waves, you would be fine (except the lack of a breathable atmosphere, perchlorate salts, no food, and other issues).

              9 votes
            2. [3]
              JakeTheDog
              Link Parent
              What do you mean?

              What do you mean?

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                mrbig
                Link Parent
                I mean what would happen if I lived on the planet Mars – would I get cancer from the radiation?

                I mean what would happen if I lived on the planet Mars – would I get cancer from the radiation?

                1. JakeTheDog
                  Link Parent
                  Hard to say, as the specifics do matter here. Assuming you have every other danger already taken care of, and you are only talking about ionizing radiation from cosmic sources e.g. the Sun, then...

                  Hard to say, as the specifics do matter here. Assuming you have every other danger already taken care of, and you are only talking about ionizing radiation from cosmic sources e.g. the Sun, then there would be a greater chance of developing a cancer as a result than say on Earth. But probably less chance than say in bare space or on an asteroid.

                  But then again, assuming you avoid other diseases, accidental death (and all sources of radiation except visible light) and live long enough, there is a very good chance you will get cancer while on Earth at some point in your life. Cancer is a general term for a massive group of dysfunctions.

                  3 votes