In a strong stand against fake news, YouTube announced it would be banning all videos that spread vaccine misinformation.
The social media platform said “medical misinformation” was against its community guidelines, and will begin cracking down on controversial posts about vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organization or other relevant authorities.
According to NPR, YouTube had initially banned videos that perpetuated false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines under its ‘COVID-19 Misinformation Policy’, but will now extend that rule to a wider number of non-COVID vaccines that have seen been approved for use globally.
“We’ve steadily seen false claims about the coronavirus vaccines spill over into misinformation about vaccines in general, and we’re now at a point where it’s more important than ever to expand the work we started with COVID-19 to other vaccines,” YouTube said.
The site added that it is already taking down videos claiming vaccines are dangerous, or that they cause side effects such as cancer or infertility. From now, it will also be banning posts that provide false information about the ingredients used in vaccines, as well as those that spread misinformation about vaccine “tracking.”
While users will still be able to upload videos about their personal experiences with vaccines, they can only do so if the content doesn’t encourage “vaccine hesitancy.”
This site-wide rule has gone into effect, and according to CNBC, YouTube has already removed popular anti-vaccine accounts, such as channels from Joseph Mercola, Erin Elizabeth, Sherri Tenpenny, and Robert F Kennedy Jr’s Children’s Health Defense Organization.
However, it does caution users that the removal of all videos with misinformation won’t happen overnight. As NPR notes, various anti-vaccine pages with millions of views are still up, and it might take a while before YouTube can get to them all.