YouTube said it would remove content that falsely alleges approved vaccines are dangerous and cause severe health effects, expanding the video platform’s efforts to curb Covid-19 misinformation to other vaccines.
Examples of content that would be taken down include false claims that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility or that they don’t reduce transmission or contraction of diseases, the Alphabet division said.
The policies cover general statements about vaccines — not only those for Covid-19 — and about specific routine immunisation such as those for measles and hepatitis B. YouTube said it has removed more than 130,000 videos for violating its Covid-19 vaccine policies since last year. …
YouTube has permanently cut off several channels tied to what it regards as well-known spreaders of vaccine misinformation, a spokeswoman said. They include those belonging to Joseph Mercola and an account affiliated with Robert F. Kennedy Jr, she said.
“Free speech is the essential core value of liberal democracy. All other rights and ideals rest upon it. There is no instance in history when censorship and secrecy have advanced either democracy or public health,” Mr Kennedy said in a statement through a representative. …
Also this week, YouTube said it suspended the posting privileges of RT DE, the German-language service of Russian state-owned media company RT, over Covid-19 misinformation. YouTube said it subsequently suspended another channel the broadcaster used to circumvent the suspension.
Russia’s foreign ministry said on Twitter that the action represented “flagrant censorship and suppression of freedom of expression” and that Russia was looking at retaliatory measures. …
Twitter Inc. earlier this year said it began applying labels to tweets pertaining to vaccines that include conspiracy theories and rhetoric that isn’t based in research or credible reporting.
Facebook Inc. has also aimed to use its resources to promote Covid-19 vaccines. But its researchers warned that comments on vaccine-related posts — often factual posts of the sort Facebook sought to promote — were filled with antivaccine rhetoric aimed at undermining their message, internal documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show.
Some facts must not see the light of day. Which leaves us wondering why, precisely.