HomeCOVID-19YouTube Takes the Initiative & Blocks All Anti-vaccine Content

YouTube Takes the Initiative & Blocks All Anti-vaccine Content

YouTube will block all anti-vaccine content, moving beyond its ban on false information about the COVID vaccines to include content that contains misinformation about other approved vaccines, it said in a blog post on Wednesday, September 29.

YouTube is taking down several video channels associated with high-profile anti-vaccine activists including Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who experts say are partially responsible for helping seed the skepticism that’s contributed to slowing vaccination rates across the country.

Examples of content that won’t be allowed on YouTube include claims that the flu vaccine causes infertility and that the MMR shot, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, can cause autism, according to YouTube’s policies.

The online video company owned by Alphabet is also banning channels associated with several prominent anti-vaccine activists, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola, a YouTube spokesperson said.

As part of a new set of policies aimed at cutting down on anti-vaccine content on the Google-owned site, YouTube will ban any videos that claim that commonly used vaccines approved by health authorities are ineffective or dangerous.

Recommended Read: Pfizer: First Death Linked to COVID-19 Vaccine Reported in New Zealand

The company previously blocked videos that made those claims about coronavirus vaccines, but not ones for other vaccines like those for measles or chickenpox.

A press email for Mercola’s website said in a statement: “We are united across the world, we will not live in fear, we will stand together and restore our freedoms.”

Kennedy said in a statement: “There is no instance in history when censorship and secrecy have advanced either democracy or public health.”

The moves come as YouTube and other tech giants like Facebook and Twitter have been criticized for not doing enough to stop the spread of false health information on their sites.

But even as YouTube takes a tougher stance on misinformation, it faces backlash around the world.

On Tuesday, Russian state-backed broadcaster RT’s German-language channels were deleted from YouTube, as the company said the channels had breached its COVID-19 misinformation policy.

Russia on Wednesday called the move “unprecedented information aggression,” and threatened to block YouTube.

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