Videos that contradict COVID-19 vaccine facts provided by authorized health experts or organizations such as WHO or circulating any misinformation around the subject will be removed from the YouTube platform.
The update is a part of the COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy from YouTube that is enforced when videos violating the guidelines around the subject are posted on the platform.
“A COVID-19 vaccine may be imminent, therefore we’re ensuring we have the right policies in place to be able to remove misinformation related to a COVID-19 vaccine”, Farshad Shadloo, a YouTube spokesman, told The Verge in an email.
As several pharmaceutical companies are in the quest to launch the COVID-19 vaccine by early 2021, and a number of vaccines are in different phases of clinical trials and evaluations, social media platforms that are often a hub of misinformation are pursuing the objective to limit hoaxes around the vaccine.
The anti-vaccine groups and conspiracy theories around critical medical conditions had always flourished on social media, and that has not stopped in the age of pandemic too.
In a CNBC interview, Bill Gates mentioned he worries that anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories targeting him and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Physician & Immunologist, may erode public trust as companies work on possible Covid-19 vaccines.
“The whole digital media space where people are dealing with the bad news, the pandemic, has spun up a lot of conspiracy theories” he added.
For such reasons, few social media platforms are taking the necessary steps. Recently, Facebook introduced a new global policy stating if an ad explicitly suggests not getting a vaccine, it will be rejected, and the enforcement of the new policy will begin over the next few days.
YouTube’s update is an addition to the policy that was already in place which is built on four primary categories: Treatment, Prevention, Diagnostic, and Transmission.
According to a YouTube Help blog, if the content is removed, the platform will send you an email to let you know. The three-strikes policy will be followed to act upon violations.
The first violation will lead to a warning and no penalty. If it’s not the first violation, a strike will be issued against your channel. Three strikes sill result in termination of the channel.