Google cracks down coronavirus adverts related to 5G conspiracy theories

techradar | April 09, 2020

At a Glance:
  • Google has rolled out new measures to crack down on misleading health claims about 5G and conspiracy theories.

  • UK government and the country's mobile industry joined together to plead for the spread of misinformation to stop.

  • The UK government has ordered social networks to do more to prevent the spread of misinformation.

Google has announced a crackdown on adverts around misguided conspiracy theories concerning a link between coronavirus and 5G networks.

The search giant has said it will be banning advertising on search terms and keywords that relate to “misleading health claims” surrounding 5G and coronavirus.

The news follows several attacks by conspiracy theorists on 5G masts across the UK, despite repeated advice from scientists that there is no link between the global pandemic and the high-speed networks.

Youtube, which is owned by Google, has also banned all videos that falsely link the next-generation mobile network to Covid-19 symptoms.

It follows reports that at least 20 mobile phone masts have been damaged in arson attacks in recent weeks as a result of conspiracy theories.

Coronavirus conspiracy

According to The Telegraph, Google says that the adverts fall under its sensitive events policy, which has been in place since January, when the coronavirus began to spread outside of China into other countries.

Learn more: 5G and coronavirus: scientists say rumors are 'complete and utter rubbish' 

This looks to prevents companies and individuals from profiteering from public health emergencies by blocking their adverts from appearing in search results.

Earlier this week, scientists, the UK government and the country's mobile industry joined together to plead for the spread of misinformation to stop. As well as attacks on masts, telecoms, and networking infrastructure workers have also faced abuse and assault.

Recent guidance from the International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) took into account more than two decades of research and concluded there was no risk to public health.

Anti-5G campaigners have argued next-generation-networks can cause a range of health problems even though the entire body of research available refutes these claims, while World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations are that 5G is safe.

The 5G story is complete and utter rubbish, it’s nonsense, it’s the worst kind of fake news.

- Stephen Powis, England’s National Medical Director


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