YouTube blocks all anti-vaccine content

Under pressure to combat misinformation on its platform, YouTube announced on Wednesday it will block all anti-vaccine content on the streaming site.

YouTube already cracked down specifically on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, but will now target content alleging that long-standing, commonly-used vaccines cause chronic health effects.

The Washington Post reported YouTube, owned by Google parent Alphabet, will take down several channels and ban prominent anti-vaccine activists, including attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola, who have long been high-profile figures in the anti-vaccine movement.

The move comes as YouTube and other tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter face criticism for not doing enough to stop the spread of false health information on their sites.

U.S. President Joe Biden in July said COVID-19 misinformation spread on social media was “killing people.”

Even as YouTube takes a tougher stance on misinformation, it faces backlash around the world.

Moscow on Wednesday expressed outrage after YouTube deleted Russian state-backed broadcaster's German-language channels for what the site said were breaches of its COVID-19 misinformation policy.

Russia called the move "unprecedented information aggression," and threatened to block YouTube. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.