Youtube has developed a set of rules to restrict medical disinformation on the video platform. This was announced by YouTube on its blog on Tuesday. The new guidelines should be clearer and easier to understand for content creators, viewers and partners.
The further development in medicine makes it necessary to develop a set of rules for YouTube that will last in the long term, according to the company’s announcement. A balance should be found between a space for discussion of medical content on the one hand and the removal of “harmful content” on the other. Youtube wants to ensure that medical content is provided on the video platform on which there is a scientific consensus. YouTube does not want to offer a platform for information that could harm people.
The previous YouTube guidelines are therefore being restructured with regard to medical information. Going forward, the guidelines on medical misinformation will be divided into three categories: prevention, treatment and denial. The guidelines apply to content that describes health conditions, treatments, and medications that conflict with what local health authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) mandate.
In the future, YouTube will check whether such content is associated with a high risk to public health, whether there are global guidelines from public health authorities and whether there is a general susceptibility to misinformation on the topic in question.
Specifically, Youtube wants to remove all content that contradicts the guidelines of the health authorities on the prevention and transmission of certain diseases and their treatment. This also includes the safety and effectiveness of approved vaccines. This includes content promoting harmful substances to prevent disease.
Content about treatments that do not follow health authority guidelines, such as promoting certain treatment practices or harmful drugs, will also be removed. This includes, for example, the treatment of cancer with cesium chloride.
YouTube also wants to curb the denial of false information. Videos denying the existence of certain diseases and health conditions will be removed going forward. This also applies to content that denies, for example, that people have died in connection with COVID-19.
Tackling misinformation about cancer treatments
Youtube pays special attention to misinformation about cancer treatments. Youtube is often a contact point for people who are suffering from cancer. Youtube wants to be a trustworthy source here and enable people to find credible and reliable information about the disease and treatment methods. Accordingly, “in the coming weeks” YouTube will begin to remove information and advertising from harmful and demonstrably ineffective treatment methods. Additionally, YouTube will provide a public playlist of Mayo Clinic videos on various cancer treatments.
YouTube still wants to allow exceptions to the regulations. For example, when the public interest in such information prevails. This includes, for example, content that can be seen in an educational, documentary, scientific and artistic context. This also applies, for example, to videos of public hearings or election campaigns by political actors. However, adding additional context does not guarantee that the videos with medical misinformation are allowed to stay. In such cases, the videos can be given an age rating or an information box can be displayed that provides additional information on the topic.
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