On Wednesday, YouTube announced that it will not allow videos that claim vaccines approved by health authorities are dangerous or don’t work. It is also banning several prominent anti-vaccine accounts, including Joseph Mercola’s channel and the Robert F. Kennedy Jr.-linked Children’s Defense Fun.
In a blog post, YouTube said it would remove videos claiming that vaccines do not reduce rates of transmission or contraction of disease, and content that includes misinformation on the makeup of the vaccines. Claims that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility, or that the vaccines contain trackers, will also be removed.
YouTube’s new policy expands to block misinformation around other vaccines, including the flu shot, the HPV vaccine, and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Videos that inaccurately claim that the MMR vaccine causes autism or that the flu shot causes infertility, for example, will not be allowed under the new policy.
However, YouTube will still allow videos that include people sharing their personal experiences with vaccination. It’ll remove that content if the channels they’re on demonstrate a pattern of promoting vaccine misinformation.
The guidelines say that the platform will also allow videos with information violating the policy if that video includes other context, like statements from medical experts.
Along with the new policy, YouTube is also terminating the channels of major anti-vaccine accounts. Which include Joseph Mercola, the Children’s Health Defense Fund, Erin Elizabeth, and Sherri Tenpenny.
YouTube expanded its vaccine policies after noting that misinformation around all vaccines could contribute to mistrust around the COVID-19 vaccine, said Matt Halprin, YouTube’s vice president of global trust and safety.