YouTubers Reap On Corona Virus Fears

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YouTubers Reap On Corona Virus Fears

Keith Tsuji/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty


As it happens with every disaster, now with the coronavirus, there are some that try to gain their 5 minutes of publicity. That's the reason why un-known YouTube accounts attempt to gain recognition through the fear of the pandemic, and for quite a few of them, it's working.


By creating videos that are aggravating the fear, they are attempting to gain not only recognition but also money. How they manage to do it? By spreading alarm, false facts, and in general lies that contribute to the people's panic.


Although YouTube is making an effort to use its algorithms efficiently to prevent transmission and minimize the impact of content that comes from unreliable sources, a lot of these videos are flowing and circulating on the platform and other social media.


A personal finance guru produced one popular series on the virus with a history of busting economic theories regarding peak oil as well as other kinds of resource crises, but who has recently rebranded as a pandemic expert due to the new trend since the coronavirus blasted.


"I'm here with a really important message about the coronavirus," Chris Martenson, co-founder of the financial website Peak Prosperity, states at the start of a video entitled "Coronavirus Is Worse Than You've Been Told: Scientist Explains."


"Unfortunately, if you've been reading the news, you've either been under-informed or misinformed about what this virus really is. It's a very serious thing," and goes on. "To get more updates, please come by [my website]. We have a place for subscribers who want to go a little deeper and get some good advice about what they can do."


Though on the website you can find some articles about the coronavirus, it also emphasizes on something called "Our Recommended Pandemic Preparations"—available only for paid subscribers.


Although Martenson declares himself a scientist in the video's titles, his claim to the label is, according to him, based on a 1994 Ph.D. from Duke's Department of Pathology, where he studied about toxicology. Whilst he publicized scientific research in the '90s, for at least the last decade, Martenson has focused on forecasting stagflation and other massive turns in financial markets.


"He's not a practicing physician, he's just a guy with a science background who's taken an interest in this virus," commented Dr. Angela Hewlett, an infectology specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, who cleared up that she didn't see anything in Martenson's videos that gave her reason for concern.


Adam Taggart, a co-founder of Peak Prosperity, first told that the company's mission to Mother Jones was "scientists making sense of the world." When pushed on his scientific proofs, Taggart indicated that he held an MBA but had followed pre-med as an undergraduate, and alternatively turned to his partner's education.


"If Chris is asked what he is, he would say, 'I'm a researcher who was trained as a scientist.' He's not aiming to describe himself as someone who works in a lab," Taggart stated, clarifying that Martenson and Peak Prosperity have previously diverged from financial topics to make sense of global matters, pointing to work on Fukushima, Monsanto's Roundup pesticide, and "alimentation and nutrition issues."


Before he initiated creating coronavirus videos a few days ago, Martenson's videos nearly exclusively focused on finance. His second video on the outbreak—"Coronavirus Is Worse Than You've Been Told: Scientist Explains"—accrued over 700,000 views, a lot more than his usual viewers.


Hewlett highlighted that although his titles could lean towards alarmism, the subject of his videos, seemed reasonable. "The titles aren't indicative of what's in the videos. But he doesn't seem to spread misinformation. People are just hungry for information in general. He's just trying to assimilate media reports," Hewlett commented.


Four days after that video's issue, Martenson has uploaded six other coronavirus videos that, together, have achieved over a million views. A social media analytics website, Social Blade, indicates that he gained over 12,000 subscribers in the past week.


Martenson isn't the only person creating YouTube videos about the virus as interest blasts. Mother Jones also reviewed other accounts that have demonstrated similar attempts to direct to videos about the coronavirus, with diverse outcomes. Some, however, have taken off.


A YouTube channel named the Atlantis Report has started to upload conspiracy-mongering coronavirus videos with titles such as "Is Coronavirus part of the Biowarfare being waged against China using Drones?!" and "The Wuhan Coronavirus, A Bio-Weapon stolen from Canada And Intentionally Released in China!?"

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Thinking Humanity: YouTubers Reap On Corona Virus Fears
YouTubers Reap On Corona Virus Fears
As it happens with every disaster, now with the coronavirus, there are some that try to gain their 5 minutes of publicity. That's the reason why un-known YouTube accounts attempt to gain recognition through the fear of the pandemic, and for quite a few of them, it's working.
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