YouTube to remove misinformation videos about all vaccines

29 September 2021, 15:24

YouTube displayed on a laptop computer
Social media stock. Picture: PA

The video platform is expanding its policy on not allowing videos containing Covid-19 vaccine misinformation to all approved jabs.

YouTube is to remove videos that contain misinformation about all vaccines, expanding its policies around health misinformation which had been strengthened during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Google-owned video platform said its ban on Covid-19 vaccine misinformation, which was introduced last year, had seen 130,000 videos removed so far as a result, but more scope was needed to clamp down on broader false claims about other vaccines appearing online.

Under the new rules, any content which falsely alleges that any approved vaccine is dangerous and causes chronic health problems will be removed, as will videos that include misinformation about the content of vaccines.

Social media and internet platforms have been repeatedly urged to do more to tackle the spread of online misinformation, and although millions of posts have been blocked or taken down and a number of new rules and prompts to official health information have been introduced across most platforms, critics have suggested not enough has been done to slow the spread of harmful content since the start of the pandemic.

YouTube said it was taking its latest action in response to seeing vaccine misinformation begin to branch out into other false claims.

“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 blog post announcing the rule update.

“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.

“This would include content that falsely says that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility, or that substances in vaccines can track those who receive them. Our policies not only cover specific routine immunisations like for measles or Hepatitis B, but also apply to general statements about vaccines.”

YouTube added that there would be “important exceptions” to the new guidelines, including content about “vaccine policies, new vaccine trials and historical vaccine successes or failures”, as well as personal testimonies relating to vaccines, which the company said were important parts of public discussion around the scientific process.

“Today’s policy update is an important step to address vaccine and health misinformation on our platform, and we’ll continue to invest across the board in the policies and products that bring high-quality information to our viewers and the entire YouTube community,” the company said.

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

The former president launched his app to compete with tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter.

Donald Trump launches 'Truth' social media platform after exile from Twitter and Facebook

It is the second outage in a week

Facebook, Instagram and Messenger down for second time in a week

The source code of Twitch was posted online

Twitch data breach: What you need to know

Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp went down in a major outage

WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram back online after suffering six-hour outage

Queen's Baton Relay baton

‘Smart’ baton using cutting-edge technology unveiled for Queen’s Baton Relay

Amazon's Astro robot

Amazon introduces home robot alongside new Echo devices

A person using a laptop

Pandemic sparks demand for greater use of tech in public safety – report

An Instagram page

Instagram for children plans ‘paused’, company says

Brexit

Labour proposes ‘legal duty of care’ on social media firms to stop scams

Stuart and Amanda Stephens

Family of tragic 13-year-old Olly urge parents to take phones off teenagers

Customers enter Apple shop

Queues return to Apple Stores as the iPhone 13 goes on sale

Online fraud

New laws needed to protect people from online scams, Which? warns

Laptop

Ofcom ‘needs powers to audit tech firms to prevent online harms’

A computer user

Government told to confront tech giants about videos that trigger epileptic fits

Scientist with petri dish

Scientists use AI to help discover new treatment for deadly childhood cancer

Laptop

Online Safety Bill not suitable for fraud, Google and Facebook suggest