- Youtube has announced that it will ban videos that spread misinformation on coronavirus vaccines.
- This would include allegations that the vaccine would kill people or cause infertility, or claiming that the vaccine would in some way implant microchips in recipients.
- Facebook also announced a global policy to ban content that discourages people from getting vaccinated.
YouTube has banned misinformation on COVID 19 vaccinations as an expansion to the previous policy which restricted or down-ranked unverified posts. The now-banned claims include allegations that the vaccine would kill people or cause infertility, or claiming that the vaccine would in some way implant microchips in recipients.
Any content with claims about COVID-19 vaccines that contradict consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO) will be banned from YouTube.
"A Covid-19 vaccine may be imminent, therefore we're ensuring we have the right policies in place to be able to remove (related) misinformation," Youtube said in a statement to BBC. YouTube said it had already removed 200,000 dangerous or misleading videos about the virus since February.
Youtube said the new rules would be enforced over the next few days but some ads would still run in the meantime. It further said that it was launching a campaign to provide users information about the flu vaccine, including where to get flu shots in the US.
YouTube noted that it already removes content that disputes the existence or transmission of COVID-19, promotes medically unsubstantiated methods of treatment, discourages people from seeking medical care, or explicitly disputes health authorities' guidance on self-isolation or social distancing.
The development comes shortly after social media platform Facebook came up with a global policy to ban content that discourages people from getting vaccinated. "Public health officials recommend that most people get a flu shot every year. This year, they think it is especially important to minimize the risk of concurrent flu and COVID-19," Facebook noted in a blog post.
Facebook noted that it already had a policy in place that does not allow ads with vaccine hoaxes that have been publicly identified by leading global health organizations, such as the WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).