Youtube to ban any antivax disinformation


From 5G chips to horse dewormer, we’ve heard a million conspiracy theories during this pandemic – and the vast majority of them are spreading through social media. No matter how you watch it and what channels you use, the problem is that disinformation thrives and a lot of people fall for it.

In a belated attempt to stop this misinformation, Youtube has now announced that it will now ban anti -ax content and remove channels from several leading anti-axxers, including one belonging to the so-called Children’s Health Defense Fund, a group affiliated with a controversial anti-vaccine. activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Youtube wants less foil hats on its platform. Credits: Tom Radetzki.

People like Joseph Mercola, Erin Elizabeth and Sherri Tenpenny – all identified as playing a leading role in spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines – will soon have their channels blocked as part of the crackdown on online disinformation . The decision builds on already existing rules against COVID-19 disinformation on Youtube.

Users who post incorrect information about “currently administered vaccines that are approved and confirmed as safe and effective by local health authorities and WHO” will have their videos removed, and be subject to YouTube’s strike policy and may be withdrawn, the company said in the blog post.

In practice, this means that Youtube will remove incorrect information about administered vaccines that are confirmed by scientific evidence and health authorities to be safe and effective.

“This would include content that falsely says that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility, or that substances in vaccines can track those who receive them,” YouTube said, adding that the policy does not apply. applies not only to COVID-19 vaccines, but also to other vaccinations.

There are still exceptions.

“Given the importance of public discussion and debate to the scientific process, we will continue to license content on vaccine policies, new vaccine trials, and historic vaccine successes or failures on YouTube. Personal testimonials relating to vaccines will also be allowed, as long as the video does not violate other community guidelines, or the channel shows a model of promoting vaccine reluctance, ”the article read. explanation from Youtube.

Social media platforms have come under fire for not taking enough action to tackle vaccine misinformation. The spread of this misinformation affects us all, as it hinders the vaccination campaign and prolongs the pandemic. The White House has also called on big tech companies to fix the problem, especially after just 12 people were found responsible for most of the vaccine hoaxes.

YouTube is one of many services that have gradually tightened their policies on coronavirus disinformation, as antivax and other deceptive content spread across the internet. Facebook has been discussing similar measures since 2019, although Facebook’s disinformation is still rampant.

Whether or not this will succeed in hampering health misinformation remains to be seen. With vaccination rates capping (at least in part because of this misinformation), the stakes have never been higher.

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