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YouTube has taken down over 1 million 'dangerous' COVID misinformation videos

YouTube Axon 10 Pro
YouTube Axon 10 Pro (Image credit: Jason England / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • More than a million videos containing coronavirus misinformation have been removed by YouTube since last year.
  • Around 10 million videos are taken down by YouTube each quarter for violating community guidelines.
  • YouTube says it will continue to improve its systems to tackle misinformation on its platform.

YouTube has removed over 1 million videos with "dangerous coronavirus information" such as false cures and hoax claims since February last year, according to a blog post by the Google-owned video platform's Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan.

As per the blog post, YouTube removes approximately 10 million videos each quarter. Most of the videos that violate YouTube's community guidelines are removed even before reaching 10 views. The executive adds that "bad content" accounts for a tiny percentage of videos on the platform.

About .16-.18% of total views turn out to be content that violates our policies

To combat COVID-related misinformation, YouTube relied on expert consensus from reliable health organizations such as the CDC and WHO. YouTube used a similar approach in the days following the 2020 U.S. Presidential election. It allowed "voices from across the spectrum to remain up" before the election results were certified.

Once the results were certified by states, it started to purge content with false claims that widespread fraud altered the outcome of any past presidential election. Since then, YouTube has removed thousands of videos for violating its election-related policies. A vast majority of those videos were taken down even before they hit 100 views.

The executive also says that "responsibility is good for business" as hot-button content doesn't usually receive many views on YouTube. Additionally, it can also erode trust with both viewers and advertisers.

We've committed significant time and money to address this, and as we've done so, our company, and therefore our creator economy has benefitted.

Like Facebook, Twitter, and other major internet platforms, YouTube too faces the challenge of striking the right balance between freedom of speech and freedom of reach. Despite having robust systems to combat misinformation, YouTube has faced criticism over its content moderation efforts several times.

Babu Mohan
Babu Mohan
24 Comments
  • Misinformation.......or inconvenient truths, we're not allowed to decide.
  • Exactly. You will only hear and see what they want you to.
    YOU WILL COMPLY!!!!
  • You don't even know how an ellipsis works...
  • CENSORSHIP PERIOD. Don't follow the "experts" who have been wrong constantly and have outright lied, get cancelled, demonitized, or deplatformed. Time to turn them off!
  • Exactly. It isn't misinformation until the person watching decides for themselves. Between the medical state and tech censorship, we're never going to know real truths again.
  • If they're so concerned about the truth why only with Covid why not with all things.
    Every one has a brain to decide what they want to believe, anyway at least they did
  • Ivermectin!... Am I allowed to say that?
  • So they are working under BIDEN
    what a dangerous POLITICAL LEADER USA HAS CHOSEN...
    EVEN UNDER TRUMP SAME COVID trend was going on
    Whole leftist media ecosystem was after him
    Now no one is allow to even post or talk
    And they call it democracy...
  • You'll have to go to Rumble or Odysee instead.
  • Great alternatives! I really like the interface of Odysee, but it doesn't work well with my slow Internet connection, Rumble loads perfectly, though 😁
  • And yet animal torture videos and all kinds of other crap is left up without any repercussions. But if someone actually has a different opinion than what their Democratic overlords think, then it breaks the rules.
  • I say good for them! Generally, I'm not a fan of censorship. But when dangerous lies and misinformation starts having a negative effect on public health, it's time to take action.
    And for those of you who say the public should decide what is disinformation and what is not, that's the same as letting the public decide what is truth and what's not. Except that's not how the truth works! 600 years ago, the public would have decided that the notion of the Earth being flat and that the heavenly bodies revolved around Earth was truth! My point is that uniformed people do not have the capability to decide what is truth when it comes to certain matters. The vast majority of the public do not have the expertise to make judgement calls when it comes to this pandemic - and neither do the majority of the people making YouTube videos. And the fact that so many people nowadays turn to social media - not for information, but for validation for their own toxic beliefs, allowing misinformation that is harmful to public health to spread is immoral.
  • Wonderful example, though probably not for the reasons you think. The "powers that be" were the educated elite who just knew that the earth was flat and also the center of the solar system. It was the curiosity of the common folk that eventually brought an end to this erroneous line of thought. Then, as now, the self-proclaimed adjudicators of truth censored all dissenting thought, and many free thinkers were sacrificed in the name of ridding the world of misinformation. How long will it take before our new overlords discover that the earth revolves around the sun after all?
  • Idk, but hopefully an infectologist finds out a way to eliminate the virus quickly while we're all talking here.
  • Educated people knew the Earth was round and understood astronomy a few thousand years ago, it was the stupid church that tried to claim God created us and there for we are the center of the universe and a ton of other nonsense.
  • I'm all for free thinking - as long as that "thinking" does not harm anyone in a serious way. To be fair, everyone has s right to free speech. No one has the right to an audience for that speech, nor are companies obligated to provide a distribution method for said speech. Media distributors deciding that they don't want to distribute certain content is nothing new. Thus, YouTube is well within it's right to not provide an vehicle for speech that it deems as dangerous. You are still free to think and say whatever you want.
    Now, to your point, knowledge changes and evolve over time. You know who discovered that heavenly bodies do not revolve around Earth? Experts! Experts in math and sciences. Thus, my original proposition remains. Common folks making YouTube videos based on their plots they got from movies are not entitled to an audience. Certain experts with ulterior political motives - who are working to jeopardize public health to see those motives realized are not entitled to an audience. Yes, the experts have gotten some things wrong, only because they keep underestimating the stupidity of the populace. If the majority of people followed a few simple rules for a few months, this pandemic would be under control. They underestimated the amount of vaccine hesitancy and stupidity there would be. If 85% of the population had gotten vaccinated, we wouldn't have much to worry about today.
  • You truly have no clue what you are talking about, LOL.
  • Actually, i know quite a bit...
  • Have not watched a youtube video since google took them over. I sure hope the gov't starts splitting up google, apple, amazon, and especially, facebook!
  • Wait... didn't these guys recently award themselves some prize or medal for freedom of speech?! Hmmm, I guess the irony is lost on them...
  • But they have no problem with idiots trying to convince the world it's flat or countless other conspiracies.
  • Convincing people that the world is flat does not do harm to public health. Spreading lies about a public health crisis that produces behavior that can further jeopardize the health of the public is a different ball game than some idiot spouting off falsehoods about the earth being flat.
  • I'm a free American who should be able to decide if I want to get the vaccine or not -- especially but regardless of the fact that I already had covid. We are not free citizens if the government can mandate a drug be injected into our veins against our choice. If that most intimate violation can take place, then there really is no limit to government overreach and freedom is an illusion and dead. But that would be considered misinformation by some.
  • You are correct. You are a free American and you are free to decide whether or not to take the vaccine. Your employer is also a free American and they can decide whether or not they want to employ someone who is not vaccinated and poses a risk to public health. You are correct in that it isn't the Government's place to mandate that citizens take a vaccine - unless the Government is that person's employer. However, due to the risk to public health that unvaccinated people pose, they do have a right to impose higher taxes and fees on the unvaccinated. This is entirely fair. Just like the government can mandate how restaurants owners (private citizens) run their operation (a private businesses) by ensuring that it is within health code guidelines.