YouTube tackles misinformation — will take down videos linking vaccines to most cancers, autism

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YouTube is tightening its insurance policies on vaccine videos in an effort to battle misinformation and conspiracy theories.

The video-sharing platform introduced a ban on misinformation round any vaccines authorised by the World Health Organization or native well being authorities which might be at present being administered. YouTube defines as “misinformation” any content material that claims authorised vaccines “cause chronic health effects, claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease, or contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines,” in accordance to a weblog post Wednesday.

That means the Google-owned platform will delete videos that falsely declare vaccines trigger well being points, like most cancers, infertility or autism — a concept that scientists have discredited for a long time however has endured on the web. As of Wednesday, well-liked anti-vaccine accounts, together with these run by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., had been kicked off YouTube.

As of late final year, the platform has already begun cracking down on false claims about COVID-19 and the vaccines developed in opposition to the virus. Its newest announcement comes as international locations all over the world push to supply free COVID-19 vaccines to a hesitant group of holdouts.

“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,” YouTube stated in a ready assertion.

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Public officers have struggled to counter a gentle present of on-line misinformation in regards to the COVID-19 photographs since growth of the immunization first bought underway final year. Meanwhile, YouTube has been criticized for being inconsistent with its personal insurance policies, wrongly taking down videos that criticize anti-vaccine claims, as investigative reporter Matt Taibbi has documented.

YouTube’s new rule will apply to claims about vaccines usually in addition to statements about particular vaccines, comparable to these given for measles, the flu or COVID-19.

Claims about vaccines which might be nonetheless being examined will proceed to be allowed on the positioning. Personal tales of reactions to the vaccine will even be permitted, so long as they don’t come from an account that has a historical past of selling vaccine misinformation.

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