Youtube to Remove Videos with Instructions for Unsafe Abortions

Youtube announced on July 21 that it will begin removing videos with “instructions for unsafe abortion methods,” as well as those with “false claims about abortion safety.”

“Like all of our policies on health/medical topics, we rely on published guidance from health authorities. We prioritize connecting people to content from authoritative sources on health topics, and we continuously review our policies [and] products as real-world events unfold,” Youtube said in the announcement.

Google-owned Youtube attached a link to its policy on misinformation which prohibits misinformation “that can cause real-world harm, like promoting harmful remedies or treatments.”

Youtube also said that it will launch an information panel to abortion-related videos to provide viewers with information from local and global health authorities, similar to what it has done for vaccines.

Youtube showed an example of the panel with information sourced from the National Library of Medicine.

Women’s advocacy group UltraViolet called the move “a critical step,” but added that more action was still needed.

“YouTube’s decision to start removing abortion-related misinformation and linking to factual information is a critical step in protecting public health and the people who seek answers and solutions to reproductive health options online,” UltraViolet Executive Director Shaunna Thomas said in a statement.

“While this is a significant improvement in how to address medical mis- and disinformation on YouTube, more is needed for both YouTube and Google. Criteria for abortion-related medical disinformation must extend to fake pregnancy centers and Google must implement policies to protect user privacy, data, location tracking, and more on both YouTube and other G-suite platforms,” Thomas added.

Earlier this month, UltraViolet and Physicians for Reproductive Health released an open letter urging social media platforms, including Youtube, to stop the spread of abortion-related disinformation.

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