To crackdown on misinformation, YouTube has blocked all inaccurate COVID vaccine content from its platform.
YouTube has said it will block all anti-vaccine content and will prevent users from spreading misinformation about the safety of approved vaccines.
However, the block has gained criticism for preventing a space for healthy vaccine debates.
According to YouTube’s policies, the kind of content that will be banned includes claims that the flu vaccine causes infertility and that the MMR shot – which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella – can cause autism.
The video-sharing platform has also been banning prominent anti-vax activists such as Robert F Kennedy and Joseph Mercola, according to a YouTube spokesperson.
Joseph Mercola’s website included a press email that stated:
“We are united across the world, we will not live in fear, we will stand together and restore our freedoms.”
While Robert F Kennedy said in a statement:
“There is no instance in history when censorship and secrecy has advanced either democracy or public health.”
YouTube to remove all anti-vaccine misinformation. Unconstitutional denial of free speech, yes, I have been vaccinated but I welcome the chance to defend the underdog. https://t.co/D23gaABbcV
— Walter Kelly (@WalterK80842461) September 30, 2021
The new YouTube rules specifically apply to any vaccine that has been approved by health authorities like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and vaccines that are currently being administered.
However, claims relating to vaccines that are still in testing phases will be allowed.
Additionally, YouTube mentioned that personal story videos about reactions to the vaccine will also be permitted, so long as they do not come from a YouTube account that has a history of spreading vaccine misinformation.
This policy alteration follows the criticism towards social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter for not doing enough to prohibit the spread of false health information on their sites.
As YouTube advertises a tougher stance on the spread of such misinformation, the online video website has faced backlash worldwide.
now that @YouTube has made its billions causing countless deaths, they’re banning vaccine misinformation. This is not better late than never. This is literally the minimum amount of action taken years too late. https://t.co/ukKwDetoNI
— mav (@olmaverick) September 30, 2021
On September 28, Russian state-backed broadcaster RT’s German-language channels were instantly deleted from YouTube as the company stated these channels had breached its COVID-19 misinformation policy.
On September 29, Russian officials described the move as “unprecedented information aggression” and threatened to block YouTube.