YouTube to Remove Videos Spreading Anti-Vaccine Misinformation

YouTube will remove videos that spread misinformation about all approved vaccines as the video streaming site ramps up efforts against harmful content amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting on Sept. 29, YouTube will take down videos that contains harmful misinformation about all approved vaccines, such as claims that vaccines are dangerous, cause chronic side effects, and does not reduce the risk of contracting illness.

The new policy on anti-vaccine misinformation comes as an extension of previous guidelines that banned COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, which led to the removal of 130,000 videos since last year.

“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 the announcement.

YouTube also confirmed to CNN Business that it would remove the channels of “several well-known vaccine misinformation spreaders” under the new policy.

However, YouTube also made exceptions for some content, including those about historical vaccine successes or failures and personal testimonials that do not violate the guidelines or do not belong to a channel that shows a pattern of vaccine hesitancy.

Content showing an open public forum, such as a public hearing or a protest, may also be allowed as long as its purpose is not to promote misinformation, YouTube also said.

According to YouTube, they will send an e-mail to the user to let them know that their content has been removed. First-time violators will likely get a warning with no penalty to their channel while non-first-time violators will get a strike. Those who get three strikes in a span of 90 days will have their channel terminated.

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