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  • Chris Bratton - Tech Journalist

YouTube cleansing misinformation on vaccines and suspending anti-vaccine influencers accounts

Survey data collected by New Gallup found that 18% of Americans have trust issues be vaccinated and are unlikely to change mind. Many of them are influenced by anti-vaxxers spreading false information around the web and their solution to stay negative of COVID, ignoring health regulations and even the WHO.

The recent restriction and vaccine policy of YouTube is to cleanse that misinformation such as drinking turpentine to cure diseases. Over the year, YouTube removed over 130,000 videos violating policies regarding the Covid vaccine.

Maintaining a platform that doesn't limit freedom of speech still has specific rules to shape up. And to keep that maintained, several thousand videos are removed from anti-vaxxers who claim the vaccines are dangerous or may cause autism, infertility, cancer and similar disease fatigue.

According to YouTube policy, they can terminate the user account from the platform permanently, and at the same time, law enforcement can also take action against them. Anti-vaccine influencers make up for a limited number of internet personnel spreading rumours and misinformation started during the early vaccine period of Covid. Their current motive is to stop people from getting vaccinated with globally authorised vaccines.

Anti-vaccine influencers can't participate in traditional media, so they choose social platforms to spread their hearts' content, creating confusion. This platform is a place of trust for the general public because of continuous regulatory management and rulings. But among many content makers providing information that is directly helping people, these anti-vaccine influencers are doing just the opposite.

President of US Joe Biden said these social media platforms are greatly responsible for scepticism among people alongside their influence of spreading information to practice social distancing or other forms of Covid safety instructions.

The policy empowers the termination of user accounts and content related to Covid-19 misinformation. However, the removal is on a continuous strike, the platform allowed at least 50 videos featuring the same influencers.

Facebook introduced a similar type of ban in February, and Twitter did a follow-up. The company had challenges tackling the issue nevertheless. Twitter also warned users to stop sharing misinformation; otherwise, they will be banned last March. "Today's policy update is important," said YouTube in a blog post.

YouTube guideline for Covid is followed up with international and local health organisations, and to develop policies the concern received significant priority. But the cleansing is not possible in a day because algorithms need time to understand if the information is fake. To train and test data, misinformation readability is still ongoing.

According to a company spokeswoman, anti-vaccine activist Erin Elizabeth, Sherri Tenpenny, Dr Mercola, accounts have been removed. Previous anti-vaccine posts said they were the cause of autism and similar diseases, which translates to misinformation. Senior citizens who have minimal idea of how vaccines work unfortunately had a false impression on the matter, and as a result, they stayed out of vaccinations.

Following up by YouTube, World Health Organisation (WHO) said, "We're expanding our medical misinformation policies on YouTube."

Global head of trust at YouTube, Matt Halprin, said: "vaccine misinformation appears globally; it appears in all countries and cultures." Misinformation around mumps, rubella (MMR), measles is wrongly attributed, and the issue should be adequately tackled.

Search term under "MMR vaccine-autism" responded with results containing anti-vaccination information, which can become quite dangerous.

A study conducted in 2019 proved that no link was found between autism and MMR. And information against COIVID-19 jab is not accurate either. Top news titles covered the story regarding YouTube's policy update, and the removal of anti-vaccine influencer accounts to remove false information is promising. People should be encouraged to get vaccine dosage, not the opposite.


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