Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
In May, we saw the arrival of the first viral hoax of the COVID-19 era: “Plandemic,” a meandering 26-minute video which falsely asserted that vaccines “weaken” people’s immune systems and that wearing a mask would “activate” the coronavirus. Despite the best efforts of Facebook and YouTube, a single upload of “Plandemic” got 7.1 million views before it was removed.
As I wrote at the time, the problem was not that the platforms were ignoring the video — it was that, at their scale, even the few hours it took them to research the issue were enough for “Plandemic” to get all the way around the world. “It likely won’t be the last piece of harmful misinformation about COVID-19 that becomes a blockbuster,” I wrote back then. “And when the…tech, The Verge