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YouTube has banned misinformation about Covid vaccinations, just days after Facebook took similar action on its own platform.
The company says that the fact that such a vaccine might be imminent makes it the right time to take action, and expand its pre-existing policies against Covid-19 medical misinformation.
“A Covid-19 vaccine may be imminent, therefore we’re ensuring we have the right policies in place to be able to remove misinformation related to a Covid-19 vaccine from the platform,” a YouTube spokesperson said. “Any content that includes claims about Covid-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO) will be removed from YouTube.”
Examples of now-banned claims include false allegations that the vaccine would kill people or cause infertility, or claiming that the vaccine would in some way implant microchips in recipients.
“To date, we have removed over 200K videos related to dangerous or misleading Covid-19 information since early February,” the spokesperson continued.
The company has faced considerable criticism over its misinformation policies in the past, which have been typified by “infoboxes” it places under videos on controversial topics. The boxes, which simply link to a Wikipedia page on the controversy in question, have been mocked by users as doing little to solve the basic problem of misinformation.
Andy Pattison, manager of digital solutions at the World Health Organization, said that the WHO meets weekly with the policy team at YouTube to discuss content trends and potentially problematic videos. Pattison said the WHO was encouraged by YouTube’s announcement on coronavirus vaccine misinformation.
YouTube said it would be announcing more steps in the coming weeks to emphasise authoritative information about Covid-19 vaccines on the site.
YouTube’s new policy comes a day after Facebook expanded its own policy on vaccination content to ban adverts which advocate against vaccines. That policy has been criticised for leaving a loophole which continues to allow anti-vaccination ads provided they have a political message. For instance, an advert which advocated against the government providing a Covid-19 vaccine would be allowed, Facebook said, even if it may do so by questioning the efficacy or safety of vaccines.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: YouTube bans misinformation about Covid vaccinations | YouTube