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YouTube blocks all anti-vaccine content



WASHINGTON:

YouTube will block all anti-vaccine content, moving beyond its ban on false information about the Covid vaccines to include content that contains misinformation about other approved vaccines, it said in a blog post on Wednesday.

Examples of content that won’t be allowed on YouTube include claims that the flu vaccine causes infertility and that the MMR shot, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, can cause autism, according to YouTube’s policies.

The online video company owned by Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) is also banning channels associated with several prominent anti-vaccine activists including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola, a YouTube spokesperson said.

Read more: YouTube AI blocks chess channel after mistaking ‘black v white’ discussion as racism

A press email for Mercola’s website said in a statement: “We are united across the world, we will not live in fear, we will stand together and restore our freedoms.” Kennedy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The moves come as YouTube and other tech giants like Facebook Inc. (FB.O) and Twitter Inc. (TWTR.N) have been criticised for not doing enough to stop the spread of false health information on their sites.

Also read: YouTube to launch $100m creator fund for Shorts video feature

But even as YouTube takes a tougher stance on misinformation, it faces backlash around the world. On Tuesday, Russian state-backed broadcaster RT’s German-language channels were deleted from YouTube, as the company said the channels had breached its Covid-19 misinformation policy.

Russia on Wednesday called the move “unprecedented information aggression,” and threatened to block YouTube.





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Written by Atif Hasnain

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