Social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube have removed a viral pandemic conspiracy video that contains false, misleading or unproven claims about COVID-19, reports say.
The roughly 26-minute “Plandemic Movie” video claims to be an excerpt of a larger documentary to be released this summer and contains claims about the origins of the virus and how it spreads, CNBC reported.
The video argues the coronavirus pandemic was created to make profits off of vaccines. Among other claims that defy advice of medical experts, it suggests that sheltering in place harms consumers’ immune systems and that masks can make people sicker.
As of midweek, it had been viewed and shared widely across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Vimeo.
"Suggesting that wearing a mask can make you sick could lead to imminent harm, so we're removing the video," a Facebook spokesperson told CBS News in a statement about the removal.
A YouTube spokeswoman told CNBC the video was removed for making claims about a cure for COVID-19 that has not been backed by health organizations.
Vimeo told CNBC said it “stands firm in keeping [its] platform safe from content that spreads harmful and misleading health information.” It said the video had been removed for violating those policies and added that it will be constantly monitoring and will continue to remove similar videos uploaded.
Twitter, where users were sharing video links and clips, said it has blocked the hashtags "#PlagueofCorruption" and "#PlandemicMovie" from trends and search. The platform said a video shared on Twitter by Judy Mikovits, an anti-vaccine proponent who is featured in the video, is not in violation of its misinformation policy.
Twitter said, however, the URL of the video has been "marked as unsafe."
Mikki Willis, the filmmaker behind Plandemic, told CNET in an email that he doesn't plan to appeal the takedowns of the videos, but added that he was "working on a strategy to bypass the gatekeepers." As part of that effort, the movie's website encourages people to download the video and upload it themselves.
Removing the video completely has proven to be a challenge, CBS News reported, adding its search found the video uploaded under variations of the title on YouTube.
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