YouTube to delete all misleading anti-vax videos

Sep 30, 2021
YouTube is moving to block all content that spread misinformation. Source: Getty

Video sharing giant YouTube have confirmed in a blog post that they will be deleting all videos that contain any misleading or false information pertaining to vaccines. This is a step further from their move last year, where the platform made a concerted effort to quash any misinformation relating only to Covid vaccines. This latest move extends to any videos on the site that misinform viewers on all approved vaccinations for all diseases and illnesses. 

The post says, “Vaccines in particular have been a source of fierce debate over the years, despite consistent guidance from health authorities about their effectiveness. Today, we’re expanding our medical misinformation policies on YouTube with new guidelines on currently administered vaccines that are approved and confirmed to be safe and effective by local health authorities and the WHO.”

Through various loopholes, anti-vaxers and outspoken politicians have been able to get around the existing policy prohibiting misinformation on Covid vaccines and have uploaded videos that contain misleading information on all vaccines in general. 

These videos have been seen to contribute to the increasing number of people becoming hesitant to vaccinate around the world. A study published in the New Scientist magazine found: “Misinformation proliferates on some social media platforms because users receive content suggestions aligned with their fears and watch histories, driving them into deeper rabbit holes.” 

The updated policies have seen up to 130,000 videos deleted from the platform, although some see this move as too little, too late.

Back in March 2020, the World Health Organisation Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus said, “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic,” referring to fake news that “spreads faster and more easily than this virus.” 

His sentiments were echoed by world leaders as they urged social media platforms to do more to regulate their content.

The latest move from Youtube now sees the platform in line with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, where repeat offenders will be placed on a strike system and potentially banned from the platform.

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