YouTube Expands Effort to Fight Misinformation in Vaccine Videos

September 29, 2021 by Dan McCue
YouTube Expands Effort to Fight Misinformation in Vaccine Videos

YouTube revamped its medical misinformation policies on Wednesday, advancing a new set of guidelines on vaccines that have already been approved and confirmed safe and effective by health authorities, including the World Health Organization.

In a blog post on its website attributed to “The YouTube Team,” the company noted that its guidelines have long prohibited certain types of medical misinformation and that in the past it has removed content that promoted harmful remedies, like drinking turpentine to cure various illnesses.

But the onset of the coronavirus pandemic confronted the popular video channel with new challenges.

At first, it sought to build on its existing misinformation policies, incorporating 10 new policies directly responding to untruths related to COVID-19 and the vaccines developed to treat it.


Since last year, the company said, it has removed over 130,000 videos for violating those initial COVID-19 vaccine policies.

“Throughout this work, we learned important lessons about how to design and enforce nuanced medical misinformation policies at scale,” the YouTube Team writes. “Working closely with health authorities, we looked to balance our commitment to an open platform with the need to remove egregious harmful content. 

“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,” they continued. 


Going forward, the company said, it’s going to be more tenacious than ever in policing content that:

  • Falsely alleges that approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects;
  • Claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease; or
  • Contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines.

This would include content that falsely says that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility, or that substances in vaccines can track those who receive them,the company said.

The new policies will not only cover specific routine immunizations such as for measles or Hepatitis B, but also apply to general statements about vaccines.

“Our new guidance on vaccine side effects maps to public vaccine resources provided by health authorities and backed by medical consensus,” The YouTube Team wrote.

Though the policy changes went into effect as soon as they were announced Wednesday morning, the company said that as with any significant update, it will take time for its systems to fully ramp up enforcement. 


YouTube also noted that there are some important exceptions to its new guidelines.

“Given the importance of public discussion and debate to the scientific process, we will continue to allow content about vaccine policies, new vaccine trials, and historical vaccine successes or failures on YouTube,” The YouTube team wrote. “Personal testimonials relating to vaccines will also be allowed, so long as the video doesn’t violate other Community Guidelines, or the channel doesn’t show a pattern of promoting vaccine hesitancy.” 

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Social Media

June 1, 2022
by Madeline Hughes
Sheryl Sandberg Steps Down as Facebook Exec

WASHINGTON — Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg announced she is leaving the company this fall after 14 years. “Fourteen years later,... Read More

WASHINGTON — Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg announced she is leaving the company this fall after 14 years. “Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I am not entirely sure what the... Read More

June 1, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
HHS to Fund Center Focused on Social Media Use and Youth Mental Health

WASHINGTON — The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will soon direct millions in funds towards examining the impact of social media use on the mental health of teens and children. “Social media can be associated... Read More

May 31, 2022
by Dan McCue
Supreme Court Blocks Texas Social Media Censorship Law

WASHINGTON — Social media companies scored a huge win late Tuesday after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to temporarily... Read More

WASHINGTON — Social media companies scored a huge win late Tuesday after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to temporarily block a Texas law that would have barred them from taking action on hate speech and disinformation. NetChoice v. Paxton is considered a major test of... Read More

May 27, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
DC Attorney General Sues Meta Chief Executive for Cambridge Analytica Data Breach

WASHINGTON — Washington, D.C.'s attorney general is suing Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg over his alleged backing of the Cambridge... Read More

WASHINGTON — Washington, D.C.'s attorney general is suing Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg over his alleged backing of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal suspected of influencing the 2016 presidential election. Cambridge Analytica, a former British political consulting firm, used data it took from Facebook without its... Read More

May 26, 2022
by Madeline Hughes
Twitter Fined $150M for Using Emails, Phone Numbers for Targeted Advertising

WASHINGTON — Twitter has agreed to pay a $150 million fine in a settlement reached with the Department of Justice... Read More

WASHINGTON — Twitter has agreed to pay a $150 million fine in a settlement reached with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission for improperly using users’ email addresses and phone numbers for targeted advertising, according to a complaint filed by the Department of... Read More

May 24, 2022
by Madeline Hughes
Appeals Court Hands Gov. DeSantis a Loss

ATLANTA, Ga. —  A Florida law intended to punish social media companies from allegedly barring conservative politicians from their platforms... Read More

ATLANTA, Ga. —  A Florida law intended to punish social media companies from allegedly barring conservative politicians from their platforms is unconstitutional, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday. “Put simply, with minor exceptions, the government can’t tell a private person or entity what... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top