Google-owned platform YouTube will double-down on their “misinformation” policies by removing all content promoting vaccine hesitancy and “misinformation,” the company announced Wednesday.
In a blog post titled “Managing harmful vaccine content on YouTube,” the platform announced the expansion of their already-existing “misinformation policies” with new guidelines pertaining to vaccines, especially the Wuhan coronavirus vaccine. Under the new guidelines, any video or person making false claims regarding vaccines will be barred from the platform.
The announcement claims that they worked closely with local and international health experts and organizations to “balance our commitment to an open platform with the need to remove egregious harmful content.”
“We’ve steadily seen false claims about the coronavirus vaccines spill over into misinformation about vaccines in general, and we’re now at a point where it’s more important than ever to expand the work we started with COVID-19 to other vaccines,” the announcement reads. “Specifically, content that falsely alleges that approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects, claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease, or contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines will be removed.”
The new policies go into effect immediately, the announcement notes. Furthermore, it specifically states that YouTube will remove content that claims that approved vaccines cause infertility, cancer, autism, or that substances in the vaccines can track individuals who receive them.
“Since last year, we’ve removed over 130,000 videos for violating our COVID-19 vaccine policies,” the announcement boasts. While the announcement does not name specific creators that will be removed, a YouTube spokesperson reportedly told CNBC that vaccine skeptics Joseph Mercola and wife Erin Elizabeth, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense Fund content will be removed.
“Given the importance of public discussion and debate to the scientific process, we will continue to allow content about vaccine policies, new vaccine trials, and historical vaccine successes or failures on YouTube,” the announcement reads. “Personal testimonials relating to vaccines will also be allowed, so long as the video doesn't violate other Community Guidelines, or the channel doesn't show a pattern of promoting vaccine hesitancy.”