BREAKING: YouTube Is Blocking Anti-Vaccine Content

From the “why the hell didn’t they do this sooner” file comes the news that YouTube is “Thanos snapping” anti-vaccine content off its platform. Here’s the details from The Washington Post:

As part of a new set of policies aimed at cutting down on anti-vaccine content on the Google-owned site, YouTube will ban any videos that claim that commonly used vaccines approved by health authorities are ineffective or dangerous. The company previously blocked videos that made those claims about coronavirus vaccines, but not ones for other vaccines like those for measles or chickenpox. 

Misinformation researchers have for years said the popularity of anti-vaccine content on YouTube was contributing to growing skepticism of lifesaving vaccines in the United States and around the world. Vaccination rates have slowed and about 56 percent of the U.S. population has had two shots, compared with 71 percent in Canada and 67 percent in the United Kingdom.

And this is YouTube’s reason for dragging its heels on this issue:

YouTube didn’t act sooner because it was focusing on misinformation specifically about coronavirus vaccines, said Matt Halprin, YouTube’s vice president of global trust and safety. When it noticed that incorrect claims about other vaccines were contributing to fears about the coronavirus vaccines, it expanded the ban. 

“Developing robust policies takes time,” Halprin said. “We wanted to launch a policy that is comprehensive, enforceable with consistency and adequately addresses the challenge.”

I call BS on that. This is a problem that is literally killing people and dragging out this pandemic needlessly. YouTube has a responsibility to do something about that in a timely manner. But clearly they only wanted to do something about it when they felt that they had no option but to do so. I give YouTube a #Fail on this.

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