New YouTube Policy To Combat Health Misinformation, Will Allow Testimonials

YouTube announced its updated policy which will take down videos promoting harmful treatments and cures.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Image used for representational purposes.</p></div>

Video hosting platform YouTube updated its content policy in an attempt to combat medical misinformation on its platform. The Google-owned video sharing service announced, on 29 September, its new, expanded Community Guidelines to remove "egregious harmful content".

Noting that while their pre-existing policy already prohibits certain kinds of health misinformation on its platform, they have built on their policy over the period of the pandemic around medical misinformation.

In a blog post, YouTube said that it had worked with experts to formulate 10 new policies related to COVID-19 and medical misinformation, adding that they had removed more than 1,30,000 videos for "violating our COVID-19 vaccine policies."

"Throughout this work, we learned important lessons about how to design and enforce nuanced medical misinformation policies at scale."

In the blog post, the platform added that they worked closely with the authorities to ensure that YouTube remained an open platform while also addressing the need to remove harmful content. While the platform saw that the misinformation regarding the coronavirus vaccine steadily spilled over to vaccines of all sorts, they felt that the work they started because of the pandemic needed to be expanded to cover all health communication.

The post lay special emphasis on removing content that falsely alleged that approved vaccines would cause chronic health effects and were dangerous, along with other claims related to the protective effects of vaccines and their ingredients.

"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," the post announced, adding that these policies would apply to statements regarding all vaccines.

While the platform announced its new guidelines, they also upheld the importance of public debate and discussions. While the company will now boost their work to combat medical misinformation, users will still be able to publish content regarding vaccine trials, policies and "historical successes and failures".

Those choosing to share their personal testimonials regarding vaccines will also be allowed to do so, as long as they do not violate the website's community guidelines and do not exhibit a pattern of promoting vaccine hesitancy among their audience.

During the pandemic, many content creators such as one Dr Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury took to social media to promote misinformation regarding coronavirus and continued to push his narrative regarding other health conditions and vaccines in general, which eventually led to his accounts being removed from Facebook, YouTube and other platforms.

YouTube's new policy to combat medical misinformation against immunisations of all kinds might be a step forward to reduce vaccine hesitancy across the globe, further aiding the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Edited By :Tejas Harad
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