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YouTube bans misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines

It won't allow content that contradicts the WHO or local health authorities.
Igor Bonifacic, @igorbonifacic
October 14, 2020
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Close up of a mother taking her daughter to the pediatrician to get vaccinated
Marko Geber via Getty Images

YouTube will remove videos that contain misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines (via Reuters). It will ban any content that contradicts information about those vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO) or local health authorities, the company said in a blog post. It also plans to remove videos that say a COVID-19 vaccine will kill someone, make them infertile or that it will be a way for governments to implant chips in people. 

The new policy is part of YouTube’s ongoing effort to stamp out coronavirus-related misinformation on its platform. It also follows a similar move from Facebook, which said on Tuesday it would ban anti-vaccine ads. YouTube already removes videos that dispute the existence of COVID-19. In April, it also took a stance against content that links the disease to 5G, the latest cellular networking standard. Since February, YouTube says it has removed more than 200,000 videos containing misleading or dangerous information about the coronavirus and COVID-19. Moving forward, YouTube plans to introduce additional measures that will promote authoritative information about COVID-19 vaccines.

However, it doesn’t appear like the company plans to completely stamp out anti-vaxxer content from YouTube. A spokesperson for YouTube told Reuters videos that touch on “broad concerns” over the vaccine won’t be delisted. That said, the new policy should significantly limit the spread of misinformation related to a COVID-19 vaccine.

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