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YouTube cracks down on Covid anti-vax misinformation

by Mark Tyson on 30 September 2021, 12:11

Tags: YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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Over the last year, YouTube has removed over 130,000 videos for violating its Covid-19 vaccine policies. Now it has announced that it is expanding on this clampdown on medical misinformation. To get to this stage, where it can draw a clear line in the sand, YouTube has consulted closely with local health authorities and the WHO.

While YouTube admits that videos from ordinary users about their personal experience with vaccines might be useful in online discourse, there are limits that have been long in place on the site that clamp down on content promoting potentially harmful remedies, like for example – telling viewers that the drinking of Turpentine can cure diseases.

In the latest content rules update, several key criteria are weighed by YouTube in checking if a video will be harmful to the public. It summarises that "content that falsely alleges that approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects, claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease, or contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines" will be removed by its moderators.

As well as individual videos, Reuters reports that channels run by prominent anti-vaccine activists are going to be removed. It notes that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola's channels are going in the bin. A press statement for Mercola said, "we will not live in fear, we will stand together and restore our freedoms." Meanwhile, the German language version of Russian state backed RT were deleted from YouTube because of repeated Covid-19 misinformation.

YouTube has hastened its response as it says that Covid-19 misinformation has inspired the growth of misinformation about vaccines in general. Increasing numbers of videos are sharing misinformation about long used vaccines for measles or Hepatitis B, for example.

The above measures coincide with YouTube's initiatives to increase authoritative health information on its platform. I've seen many predictions recently of telehealth being a big business opportunity on the horizon, so this may also have inspired YouTube to clean up some of its dodgy health and medical videos.



HEXUS Forums :: 29 Comments

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while this is at a first glance a good thing, how does youtube clasify what information is good and what is bad? does youtube hold medical knowledge so that they can judge the truth?
this will be another censorship to not be able to speak what you think and only hear the “official” info.
Does that also mean they're going to stop app the crap about flat earth and such?

While I agree with yeeman about classifying what's good/bad/true/lie, and freedom of information and stuff, IF people weren't so stupid and believed everything that certain sites told them then we wouldn't have to manage or censor certain things, but the internet gives crazy people an audience, which in turn creates more crazy people, so, while as a whole internet censorship is bad, if people weren't such idiots, we wouldn't need it…
yeeeeman
while this is at a first glance a good thing, how does youtube clasify what information is good and what is bad? does youtube hold medical knowledge so that they can judge the truth?
this will be another censorship to not be able to speak what you think and only hear the “official” info.

I suggest you read the actual article before you remove all doubt of a certain characterisation of yourself:

To get to this stage, where it can draw a clear line in the sand, YouTube has consulted closely with local health authorities and the WHO.
[GSV
Trig;304]Does that also mean they're going to stop app the crap about flat earth and such?

While I agree with yeeman about classifying what's good/bad/true/lie, and freedom of information and stuff, IF people weren't so stupid and believed everything that certain sites told them then we wouldn't have to manage or censor certain things, but the internet gives crazy people an audience, which in turn creates more crazy people, so, while as a whole internet censorship is bad, if people weren't such idiots, we wouldn't need it…
I do agree with taking down videos that are extremistic and that instill violence in people.
I do agree with taking down any kind of malicious video, even though it is very hard to say exactly what video is malicious and what not.
Thing is, we live in a world where no one really knows who is saying the truth and who is not.
Just as a short opinion, the pandemic does look like a legit thing, the virus is affecting people and killing some of them. But, there are so many things about this pandemic that really don't add up. There are so many dubious actions and the information is so simplified that you really wonder what is this all about.
If a person that works say in a medical lab and uses a spectometer, uploads a video on youtube and gives you the full content of the vaccine, does that video need to be taken down?
To me, the “fact checkers” are actually content and sites that makes you think these guys are considering us some brainless plants. I don't give a crap about what a fact checker or WHO or CDC says. I want to see the full spectrum of information, good and bad. I do have the right to see whatever I want, so censorship for the “good” of mankind is like the political police during communistic regimes that are there to silence anyone that says anything otherwise.

If the current generation of people, and that is my sentiment, doesn't really find this a problem, then you are free to support the consequences. Censorship should not be allowed at all, except for some clear bad things like pornography. But we're not talking about that here, we're talking about a medical situation where people should get informed before taking a decision. And so if you censorship all the “non agreeable” content then how can you take an informed decision?

Anyways, I see this as a move in the bad direction.
yeeeeman
To me, the “fact checkers” are actually content and sites that makes you think these guys are considering us some brainless plants. I don't give a crap about what a fact checker or WHO or CDC says. I want to see the full spectrum of information, good and bad. I do have the right to see whatever I want, so censorship for the “good” of mankind is like the political police during communistic regimes that are there to silence anyone that says anything otherwise.

You have the right to see whatever you want, Youtube et al have the right to specify what is the minimum acceptability of the content on their distribution platform.

Unrestricted information leads to idiots whom have a global reach like Trump and Alex Jones (two examples off the top of my head) who have an immense following and their platform is being used to spread malicious and false information. The masses like to consume hyperbolic, sensationalised and dramaticised information so when they are given an information on how it is meant to be presented which is as plain fact, no emotion and as little bias as possible, these masses don't want to consume it for a variety of reasons.

There is an unhealthy and healthy censorship, you can still find the utter garbage that leads to anti-vax, climate change denial and flat earth opinions. But you have to remember Youtube is well within its rights to speak to people who work in the field, are experts and have dedicated their lives in the pursuit of the truth and how that truth can change based on new research and new information and use their immense distribution to help prevent the spread of bad information. Instead of people who are sensationalist, hyperbolic parasites of humanity whose “research” consists of speaking with absolute confidence where they will make a statement, hold fast to it regardless of what others say they can drive focus on properly research focused people whom have actually done something more than decided they want their time in the spotlight.

There is nothing more stupid than “people are fed up of listening to scientists”, utterly ridiculous.