YouTube claims Plandemic sequel violates its rules but has still allowed it to get more than 100,000 views
Update (9/25/20): YouTube told Media Matters that the full uploads mentioned in this article -- which now have more than 230,000 combined views and one of which has revenue-generating ads -- “do not violate our COVID misinformation policies.” The statement seemingly contradicts YouTube’s commitment to The Verge and to Agence France-Presse to remove full uploads of the video for violating its policies.
YouTube has allowed multiple uploads of a sequel to a coronavirus conspiracy theory film to rack up well over 100,000 combined views, even though the platform claimed it would take down copies of the film for violating its coronavirus misinformation rules.
On August 18, the makers of the viral conspiracy theory video Plandemic released a follow-up video called Plandemic: Indoctornation. Like with the original Plandemic video, Indoctornation is full of misinformation: among other things, it falsely claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention somehow patented the virus and pushes a false conspiracy theory about Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the virus, and microchips. The video’s launch was announced in advance, and a few social media platforms took some action, cracking down on the video the day it was posted. YouTube even took down some uploads with fewer views that day, telling The Verge that it “is removing full uploads as it sees them for violating its policies around COVID misinformation.”
But uploads of the video are still up, and they've drawn thousands of views. A review by Media Matters of YouTube videos with “plandemic” in the title and with more than 10,000 views in the past week on the tracking tool BuzzSumo found that while the sequel was not viewed nearly as many times on YouTube as the original Plandemic video (which received at least 9 million views), it still earned a significant number of views. Despite YouTube’s pledge, at least three full uploads of the video have earned a combined total of about 120,000 views so far.
Additionally, the upload with the most views, currently more than 50,000, appears to be from an account supporting the QAnon conspiracy theory.
YouTube’s difficulties containing the spread of the video despite promising to take it down for violating its rules come as the platform has repeatedly struggled to deal with coronavirus misinformation on its platform.