YouTube is cracking down on anti-vaccination content on its site, taking down several channels from high-profile anti-vaccination activists.
A representative for Google, YouTube's parent company, confirmed to the Washington Examiner that channels belonging to "well-known vaccine misinformation spreaders," such as Joseph Mercola, the Children's Health Defense Fund, which is affiliated with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Erin Elizabeth, and Sherri Tenpenny, will be terminated under the new policy. Any video content that claims "commonly used" vaccines already approved by health officials and the medical community might be life-threatening or ineffective will be banned from the site as part of YouTube's new set of policies.
"Developing robust policies takes time," Matt Halprin, YouTube's vice president of global trust and safety, said of the decision not to act sooner. "We wanted to launch a policy that is comprehensive, enforceable with consistency, and adequately addresses the challenge."
The Biden administration has encouraged social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to get better at policing anti-vaccination content, especially posts that could sow misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine.
President Joe Biden previously slammed social media companies, such as Facebook, as partially at fault for people dying from the coronavirus due to the misinformation content on their sites, stating that "they're killing people." Following criticism, Biden later walked back this comment, explaining that he wanted Facebook to do more to patrol the amount of misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines on its site.
Those on the Right have been critical, with many in the GOP charging social media sites with "censorship," and YouTube eventually walked back some of its stricter protocols in relation to city council and school board meetings that featured coronavirus vaccine misinformation. The video platform reinstated at least a dozen of these videos, saying it would "make exceptions for videos of school board or town hall meetings, where the intention isn't to promote misinformation."
Between April and June 2021, YouTube removed roughly 4,187,640 channels from its site, 90.3% of which were removed due to spam or misleading content, data from YouTube show.
The United States has seen more than 43 million cases of COVID-19, with 689,534 deaths attributed to the disease, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, 64.4% of people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 55.8% are fully vaccinated, the department added.
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Original Author: Elizabeth Faddis
Original Location: YouTube announces crackdown on anti-vaccine content