YouTube is removing content and accounts dubbed spreading vaccine misinformation, and that includes those related to COVID-19, too, the company announced Wednesday, Sept. 29.
The new and more widespread restrictions would aim for all views against vaccines in general, such as the notion that vaccines cause autism or cancer or that their ingredients can be used to track people’s movements.
“Specifically, 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 will be removed,” YouTube said in a statement.
YouTube removed specific videos critical of COVID-19 vaccines a year ago. Since then, the business has removed over 130,000 videos for breaking the guidelines.
Despite this effort, undesirable coronavirus information skirted the prohibition via making dubious vaccine claims without directly mentioning the name of the lethal virus.
The company would have its criteria for vaccine misinformation determined by federal agencies. But it reassures that “public discussion and debate to the scientific process” can still be facilitated.
“We will continue to allow content about vaccine policies, new vaccine trials, and historical vaccine successes or failures on YouTube,” it wrote.
Youtube added that it would not censor “personal vaccine testimonials,” but that is only if “the video doesn’t violate other Community Guidelines, or the channel doesn’t show a pattern of promoting vaccine hesitancy.”
According to NBC News, with the new policy, the video streaming platform already brandished its enforcement to multiple no-vaxxer celebrities and content such as Dr. Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
It remains to see to what extent YouTube may control speech around COVID-19 vaccines.
According to federal agencies, the shots are at least able to reduce risks of death and severe illnesses if they cannot bar off COVID -19 infection.
But even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirm that they can still cause adverse injuries to a rare number of recipients and even death.
YouTube, along with other Big Tech platforms, has been under fire for managing content for users.
President Joe Biden and U.S. politicians have chastised the platforms for not doing enough to combat vaccine skepticism and misinformation. Right-wing politicians have accused YouTube of trying to mute them politically.
The Biden administration has been trying to close its gap on unvaccinated people, believing that the shots are critical for survival during the pandemic.
“We need to get folks vaccinated, so please do the right thing, please get the shots–it can save your life, it can save the lives of those around you,” Biden said on the day he televised his moment of receiving the Pfizer booster shot, setting a strong example of how safe the vaccines are.