Other baseless theories and hoaxes have alleged that the virus isn’t real or that it’s a bioweapon created by the US or its adversaries. One hoax from the outbreak’s early months claimed new 5G towers were spreading the virus through microwaves. Another popular story held that Microsoft founder Bill Gates plans to use Covid-19 vaccines to implant microchips in all 7 billion people on the planet.
Then there are the political theories — that doctors, journalists and federal officials are conspiring to lie about the threat of the virus to hurt Trump politically.
Social media has amplified the claims and helped believers find each other.
The flood of misinformation has posed a challenge for Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, which have found themselves accused of censorship for taking down virus misinformation.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was questioned about Immanuel’s video during an often-contentious congressional hearing Wednesday.
“We did take it down because it violates our policies,” Zuckerberg said.
US Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat leading the hearing, responded by noting that 20 million people saw the video before Facebook acted.
“Doesn’t that suggest that your platform is so big, that even with the right policies in place, you can’t contain deadly content?” David Cicilline asked Zuckerberg.
It wasn't the first video containing misinformation about the virus, and experts say it's not likely to be the last.
A professionally made 26-minute video that alleges the government's top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, manufactured the virus and shipped it to China was watched more than 8 million times before the platforms took action.