YouTube has determined to ban videos that speak against vaccine mandates and offer concerns as to side effects of vaccines. While initially, the big tech company's plan was specifically to remove what they termed to be "misinformation" about Covid vaccines, that has now moved to all content that casts doubts on all vaccines.
YouTube has targeted several video channels, including Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. YouTube cites experts who claim that these channels are responsible for vaccine hesitancy and skepticism, according to the Washington Post.
Mercola and Kennedy have both said that they are not opposed to vaccines, but are interested in talking about the risks of those vaccines, and that they believe that information is being suppressed.
The ban on content comes as part of a series of new policies that will prevent conversation that poses questions about the effectiveness or safety of existing vaccines. In addition to Covid vaccines, this content ban targets videos that oppose any other common vaccines as well.
President Biden in July took aim at social media companies for allowing content on their platforms that he claimed was "killing people." "They're killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated," Biden said.
The Washington Post claims that this move from YouTube comes, in part, as the company, and other social media sites, "increasingly come under fire from regulators, lawmakers and regular users for contributing to social ills — including vaccine skepticism..."
YouTube's vice president of global trust and safety Matt Halprin said that "Developing robust policies takes time. We wanted to launch a policy that is comprehensive, enforceable with consistency and adequately addresses the challenge."
The policy that has pulled the channels of Mercola and Kennedy, which had a large reach on the platform, will still allow individuals to speak about their own experiences.
But, Halperin said, "We’'ll remove claims that vaccines are dangerous or cause a lot of health effects, that vaccines cause autism, cancer, infertility or contain microchips." He said the company has "at least hundreds" of people looking into the content on the site to remove "medical misinformation."
Additionally, the big tech platform will feed content that they approve of to the site. YouTube's global head of health care and public health partnerships Garth Graham announced that official medical sources, such as the National Academy of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic, will be given space for their content.
"There is information, not from us, but information from other researchers on health misinformation that has shown the earlier you can get information in front of someone before they form opinions, the better," Graham said.
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