California fire conspiracies a hit on YouTube

November 23, 2018

Conspiracy videos suggesting that the California wildfires were lit by government laser beams have clocked up millions of views on YouTube.

News site Motherboard found conspiracy theories and fake news topped search suggestions, when looking for clips of the California wildfires.

It said YouTube had “not adequately stopped these conspiracy theories from blossoming on its platform”.

YouTube said it has made a long-term commitment to tackle misinformation.

At least 80 people have died in the fires which swept across the state of California in November.

500 people remain unaccounted for after the so-called Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise.

But YouTube has provided a “thriving” home for misinformation about the fires, Motherboard said.

It found people searching for the fire were recommended topics such as “conspiracy 2018”, “directed energy weapon” and “laser beam”.

BBC