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YouTube takes the vaccine

Oct 04, 2021

By Staff Writer

Tech giant YouTube on Wednesday said that it would block any content aimed at spreading misinformation around any approved Coronavirus vaccines worldwide, in an extension of its policy about removing content on misinformation about the Coronavirus.

The company also said that it had removed over 130 thousand videos in the past year, which violated its Coronavirus policy.

The tech giant also said it would block content to spread misinformation about the flu and measles vaccines. The World Health Organisation would be used as a standard in informing which content was deemed unscientific.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, Prasanto Roy, a Tech policy and media professional and columnist for the India Times and BBC, noted that the problem of miss-information is aggravated in the developing world, where video content is consumed more than that of text. 

Roy further noted the difference between vaccine miss-information and incendiary content spread on other platforms such as WhatsApp, arguing that regulatory officials and police are more equipped to deal with the latter. In contrast, other solutions are required for the former, which cannot be proved to have caused harm. 

The issue of lynchings is significant as, in this case, policing can work, but with the Coronavirus, a different method is required. However, he did note that the information spread by an influential ruling party official; would be much more difficult to block, owing to the threat of possible regulatory action being instituted against the company.

Last, on the question of this step having the unintended impact of driving this information underground, Roy argued it was difficult. Still, a more neutral and objective voice is being listened to in choosing to use credible institutes as the WHO. 

However, it was noted that other platforms such as Facebook might follow suit; however, messenger-based platforms will have a more difficult job since they may have to monitor encrypted messages, infringing on privacy and making it more costly to implement. 

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