YouTube Axon 10 ProSource: Jason England / Android Central

What you need to know

  • YouTube is cracking down on videos spreading misinformation about all vaccines.
  • Any video that falsely alleges that vaccines are dangerous and ineffective, or contain misinformation about a vaccine will be removed.
  • The Google-owned video platform has taken down 130,000 videos so far over violation of its COVID-19 vaccine policies.

YouTube is expanding its medical misinformation policies with new guidelines on approved vaccines. The updated policy aims to address vaccine-related misinformation on its platform.

The new guidelines will apply not just to content about COVID-19 vaccines, but also routine immunizations like for measles and Hepatitis B. YouTube claims to have removed more than 130,000 videos for violating its COVID-19 vaccine policies since last year.

Any video that falsely alleges that approved vaccines are dangerous and could lead to adverse health effects, claim that vaccines are not effective in reducing transmission of a disease, or spread misinformation about the substances contained in vaccines will now be removed.

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This would include videos that falsely claim that approved vaccines can cause autism, cancer, or infertility, or that vaccines contain substances that could allow the recipient to be tracked. However, the Google-owned video platform has warned that "it will take time" for its systems to fully ramp up enforcement.

Important exceptions to the new guidelines include content related to vaccine policies, new vaccine trials, and historical vaccine successes or failures. YouTube will also continue to allow personal testimonials related to vaccines. YouTube says it has consulted with health organizations and experts across the world in developing its new vaccine policy update.

YouTube has also reiterated its focus on addressing health misinformation and said that it will continue to invest in policies and products to make high-quality information available to viewers.

Russia, however, doesn't appear to be too happy with YouTube's policy update on vaccine content. YouTube took down Russian state-backed broadcaster Russia Today's German channels earlier today for violating its new policy. Russia has now threatened to block YouTube if it doesn't reinstate the channel.