YouTube announced on September 29 that it was strengthening its policy to combat offensive content and to vaccinate against Covid-19. Thus, the platform removed several channels of American personalities who are very active in this topic.
YouTube steps up its fight against content against Covid-19 vaccines. The platform said in a press release: “Content that incorrectly claims that approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects, and that confirms that vaccines do not reduce disease transmission or disease incidence or contains incorrect information about substances found” in vaccines.” A statement on September 29 .
“This includes content that falsely claims that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or sterility, or that substances in vaccines can track who receives them,” the company, a Google subsidiary, continues.
Videos deemed misleading or false about measles or hepatitis B vaccinations may also be removed from the site.
On the other hand, “content related to vaccination policies, new vaccine trials, and historical successes or failures of vaccines” remains authorized, as well as personal testimonials about vaccination as long as they comply with the platform’s regulations.
In fact, a YouTube spokesperson confirmed to AFP that the platform will remove the channels of many activists opposing vaccination against Covid-19, in particular those of orthopedic doctor and businessman Joseph Mercola, who presented it, at the end of July, by The New York Times, as “the most influential broadcaster of fake coronavirus news on the Internet.”
On September 29, an AFP search on YouTube no longer shows Joseph Mercola’s channel or any content posted directly by someone who has presented himself as an alternative medicine promoter. According to the specialized Social Blade website, Mercola’s channel before it was deleted had more than 400,000 subscribers, and its videos had more than 100 million views.
Robert Kennedy Jr’s channel has been removed
Joseph Mercola described the decision as a “censorship” of Twitter and included it as an “attack on our liberties and civil rights.”
YouTube also confirmed its intention to remove the channels of Erin Elizabeth, another anti-vaccination activist, as well as that of Robert Kennedy Jr., the son of a former presidential candidate who was assassinated in 1968, on the platform. Defending children’s healthRobert Kennedy Jr., whose channel has been taken down, made a movie to encourage African Americans to be wary of vaccines.
YouTube is already implementing measures to combat this type of posting against Covid-19 vaccines, claiming that it deleted more than 130,000 videos last year that violated its regulations in this field.
Large US tech groups are facing strong pressure to remove or moderate the anti-vaccination content developing on their platforms, especially since the beginning of the pandemic.
In mid-September, Facebook introduced a new tool to combat conspiratorial or violent groups, primarily targeting the German movement “Querdenken” (or “anti-conformity”), which combines health measures against the Covid-19 epidemic with the unconstitutional deprivation of freedom.
Twitter also has a regulation on this subject and claims the right to remove content and take strict action in case of infringement.