Ban comes amid hesitation by people around the world to take vaccines
YouTube is wiping vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories from its popular video-sharing platform, the AP reports.
The ban on vaccine misinformation, announced in a blog post on Wednesday, comes as countries around the world continue to offer free immunizations for COVID-19 to a somewhat hesitant public. Public health officials have struggled to push back against a steady current of online misinformation about the COVID-19 shot since development of the immunization first got underway last year.
YouTube’s new rules will prohibit misinformation about any vaccine that has been approved by health authorities such as the World Health Organization and are currently being administered. The platform had already begun to crack down late last year on false claims about the COVID-19 vaccine.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, will delete videos that falsely claim vaccines are dangerous or cause health issues, like cancer, infertility or autism — a theory that scientists have discredited for decades but has endured on the internet. As of Wednesday, popular anti-vaccine accounts, including those run by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., were kicked off YouTube.
“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 in a prepared statement.
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