In the wake of the clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine coming closer to completion, YouTube announced that it will remove videos containing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
Any type of content that will contradict information from the World Health Organization or other health experts will be forbidden from YouTube. “A COVID-19 vaccine may be imminent, therefore we’re ensuring we have the right policies in place to be able to remove misinformation related to a COVID-19 vaccine”, Farshad Shadloo, a spokesperson for YouTube, explained in an email, according to The Verge.
The misinformation spread on YouTube regarding a COVID-19 vaccine includes claims like the vaccine being used to implant microchips in people or to cause infertility in people. Both of these claims are, of course, untrue. However, they spread like wildfire on social media, dangerously gaining track.
All the ways in which YouTube fights COVID-19 misinformation
YouTube already has a guideline in place for this very reason – the COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy. This guideline doesn’t allow videos that spread conspiracy theories on the platform. Some of the most dangerous pieces of misinformation flowing around are the claim that the virus doesn’t exist or that the use of masks should be abolished.
The new rule comes as the clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine come closer to completion. Many people believe that the race for a vaccine is political. With president Donald Trump pushing for a vaccine by Election Day and anti-vaxxers feeding off such statements, the fact that so many people believe the race has political motivations should not come as a surprise.
YouTube also has a plan to tackle the anti-vaccination content on the platform. Back in 2019, it demonetized videos that promoted anti-vaccination content. Taking things further, YouTube now no longer allows ads that discourage vaccination, stating: “We don’t want these ads on our platform”. However, organic posts from anti-vaxxers are still allowed.
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