With a move that will receive praise and criticism from various walks of life, YouTube has announced its new policy for managing “harmful vaccine content” on its platform. The policy announced through a blog post, takes effect immediately, but may take time to fully implement, the company said.
As the number of COVID-19 cases increased worldwide last year, the company is working with experts to deal with misinformation related to its medical management. Like COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and produced at record speeds, the platform also had a rise in disinformation content and removed 130,000 videos that violated its policies so far, the company said in a blog post.
Over time, the company has noticed that misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines has already spilled over into vaccines in general, with allegations of “chronic health effects” or their inability to “reducing the transmission or contraction of the disease.“This has prompted YouTube to expand its vaccination policy against COVID-19 to other vaccines,” the company said.
Under the new policy, content claiming that “vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility” or “tracking recipients” will be removed. However, discussions on vaccine failure in the past, new vaccine trials and vaccination policies will be allowed on the platform. Personal recommendations for vaccines will also be allowed, as long as they do not encourage hesitation in vaccination. These rules apply to all vaccines that are currently approved and validated as safe and effective by local health authorities and the World Health Organization, the company said in a blog post.
YouTube says its policy is to increase “authoritative health information” on its platform and wants to connect people with “reliable, quality health content and sources.YouTube expects its systems to increase due to full implementation in time, but the accounts of well-known “anti-vaccinators” have already been removed, CNBC reported.
Last year, popular video-sharing websites struggled to remove a conspiracy video about the pandemic. It remains to be seen how effective the implementation of YouTube will be. Consumers can too move to a more condescending platform to share such content, Slate said in a report earlier this year.