By Chris Mills Rodrigo
YouTube announced Wednesday that it will ban several prominent accounts that spread false information about vaccines, a move that is part of an expansion of its medical misinformation policies.
Under the new policies, the Google-owned site will remove any videos claiming that approved vaccines are dangerous or cause chronic health side effects.
That means videos implying vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility will now be taken down.
Videos about vaccine policies, like ones arguing against mandates, will not run afoul of the new guidelines.
As part of the policy launch, several high-profile accounts are being pulled down.
The accounts of Robert F. Kennedy’s Children’s Health Defense Fund, alternative medicine influencer Joseph Mercola and vaccine critic and physician Sherri Tenpenny will all be removed.
These individuals have been identified by experts as partially responsible for the vaccine skepticism that has slowed efforts to inoculate Americans against COVID-19.
YouTube did not act on these well-known accounts sooner, according to Vice President of Global Trust and Safety Matt Halprin, because the platform was focused specifically coronavirus vaccine misinformation.
“As we saw false claims about the coronavirus vaccines spill over into misinformation about vaccines in general, we worked to expand what we’d started with COVID-19 to other vaccines,” he said in a statement.
YouTube, like Facebook and Twitter, banned coronavirus misinformation near the beginning of the pandemic.
Despite those rules, falsehoods about the threat of the virus and vaccines have still flourished online.