YouTube announced that it is expanding its medical misinformation policies, with new guidelines on currently administered vaccines that are approved and confirmed to be safe and effective by local health authorities and the WHO.
According to the announcement, YouTube will not allow content that poses a serious risk of egregious harm by spreading medical misinformation about currently administered vaccines that are approved and confirmed to be safe and effective by local health authorities and by the World Health Organization (WHO). This is limited to content that contradicts local health authorities’ or the WHO’s guidance on vaccine safety, efficacy, and ingredients.
According to the guidelines, users are not allowed to post content on YouTube if it includes harmful misinformation about currently approved and administered vaccines on any of the following:
- Vaccine safety: content alleging that vaccines cause chronic side effects, outside of rare side effects that are recognized by health authorities
- Efficacy of vaccines: content claiming that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease
- Ingredients in vaccines: content misrepresenting the substances contained in vaccines
YouTube has already since last year removed over 130,000 videos for violating our COVID-19 vaccine policies, with content that promotes harmful remedies, such as saying drinking turpentine can cure diseases and worked with experts to develop 10 new policies around COVID-19 and medical misinformation.
Specifically, YouTube will not allow 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. This would include content that falsely says that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility, or that substances in vaccines can track those who receive them. YouTube clarifies that its policies not only cover specific routine immunizations like for measles or Hepatitis B, but also apply to general statements about vaccines.