YouTube preps for Covid-19 vaccine misinformation with new insurance policies


Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube

Harriet Taylor | CNBC

YouTube updated its medical misinformation policy Wednesday to include Covid-19 vaccine information that goes against expert consensus.

The Google-owned company said it was expanding Covid-19 misinformation policies to include  “any content that includes claims about Covid-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO),” a YouTube spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CNBC. The company gave examples of claims that a vaccine will kill people or cause infertility as well as misinformation that microchips will be implanted in people who receive the vaccine.

“In the coming weeks, we will also have more to announce on the work we’re doing to raise authoritative sources on our site related to Covid-19 vaccine content,” the company added.

The latest policy expansion comes as the Google gets ready for a slew of misinformation it expects — and is already seeing — on its video platform.

The company is under pressure to contain misinformation that has proliferated since the beginning of Covid-19. Firms are already testing vaccines but don’t expect the public to have access until mid-2021.

Google has for some time not allowed anti-vaccine content in its ads, and hasn’t allowed publishers to monetize that content under its “Inappropriate Content” policies.

The company said when it comes to a potential Covid-19 vaccination, it will take action against false claims about vaccines or ads that discourage vaccines under an existing policy that prohibits content relating to a current, major health crisis that contradicts authoritative scientific consensus. The company said it removed over 200,000 videos related to dangerous or misleading COVID-19 information since early February.


Steven Gregory