YouTube Bans Anti-Vaccine Misinformation – The New York Times

YouTube said on Wednesday it has banned several prominent anti-vaccine activists from its platform. Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy part of an effort to remove all content that falsely claims that approved vaccines are dangerous.

In a blog post, youtube said It said it would remove videos claiming that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of the disease, and content that contains false information about the content of vaccines. Claims that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility or that vaccines contain tracers will also be removed.

The Google-owned platform has implemented a similar ban on misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines. But YouTube said the new policy expands the rules to misleading claims about approved vaccines, such as vaccines against measles and hepatitis B, and lies about vaccines in general. Personal testimonies about vaccines, content about vaccine policies, new vaccine trials, and historical videos about vaccine successes or failures will be allowed to remain on the site.

“Today’s policy update is an important step towards addressing vaccine and health misinformation on our platform, and we will continue to invest in policies across all areas that bring high-quality information to their users,” the company said in an announcement.

For years, misinformation researchers have pointed to the proliferation of anti-vaccine content on social networks as a factor in vaccine hesitancy, including slowing Covid-19 vaccine adoption rates in more conservative states. Reports have shown that YouTube videos often act as a source of content that later goes viral on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, sometimes reaching tens of millions of views.

YouTube said it removed more than 130,000 videos last year for violating its COVID-19 vaccine policies. But that didn’t include what the video platform calls “borderline videos” on the site discussing vaccine skepticism. In the past, the company removed such videos from search results and recommendations, while promoting videos from experts and public health agencies.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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