YouTube Bans Prominent Vaccine Skeptics, Outlaws Vids That Question Safety or Effectiveness of Vaccines
YouTube is removing the channels of prominent anti-vaccine activists as part of its new policies to ban videos that claim approved vaccines are “ineffective or dangerous,” according to a new report.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the YouTube channels of anti-vaccine activists Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were included in the crackdown.
YouTube is blocking all anti-vaccine content and banning prominent anti-vaccine activists https://t.co/IdvAE2ebQU
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 29, 2021
“As part of a new set of policies aimed at cutting down on anti-vaccine content on the Google-owned site, YouTube will ban any videos that claim that commonly used vaccines approved by health authorities are ineffective or dangerous,” the Post reported.
“The company previously blocked videos that made those claims about coronavirus vaccines, but not ones for other vaccines like those for measles or chickenpox,” it added.
YouTube and other social media platforms banned “misinformation” related to COVID-19 during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. The YouTube ban now extends to other vaccines, seeking to remove content that would increase vaccine hesitancy.
According to Axios, YouTube vice president of global trust and safety Matt Halprin said the video platform would allow personal testimony, such as parents describing their children’s experiences with vaccines, but there would be restrictions.
“If the speaker then goes on to generalize and make calls for all parents not to vaccinate or makes broad claims about vaccines not being safe or effective, that would be removed,” Halprin told Axios.
“In the weeks and months that followed the launch of the COVID-19 vaccine misinformation policy, we observed content and realized that there appeared to be an interaction between general vaccine hesitancy that was being promoted on the platform, and COVID-19 vaccine misinformation,” Halprin said. “We felt like we need to address both.”
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter initially banned certain videos that criticized the coronavirus vaccines in 2020 and YouTube pulled more than 130,000 videos with what it considered misinformation, according to the Post.
Wednesday’s report comes as vaccine requirements are causing widespread controversies across the nation. In the National Basketball Association, for instance, a debate continues regarding whether to impose a league-wide vaccine mandate.
Although league officials reportedly hope to ensure every member of the league receives a COVID vaccine, a strong coalition of NBA players — including many high-profile stars — are opposing any such mandatory requirements.
Among the stars leading the charge are Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors, Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic and, most notably, Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets.
According to Rolling Stone, many more professional athletes voiced their opinions during a recent annual players’ union summer meeting. The meeting was held to assess the upcoming season’s agenda. High on the list of items to be discussed was a “proposed mandate from the league office that 100 percent of players get vaccinated against COVID-19.”
For numerous players, the idea prompted one simple answer: “Non-starter.”
In addition, dozens of Massachusetts state troopers submitted their resignations to protest Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.
Michael Cherven is the president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, a union that represents 1,800 members of the state police.
On Friday, his union issued a news release expressing disappointment after a judge denied the union’s request to delay the vaccine mandate until it can negotiate for reasonable accommodations, such as a weekly testing option or wearing a mask on the job.
“To date, dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork, some of whom plan to return to other departments offering reasonable alternatives such as mask wearing and regular testing,” Cherven said.
“The State Police are already critically short-staffed and acknowledged this by the unprecedented moves which took troopers from specialty units that investigate homicides, terrorism, computer crimes, arsons, gangs, narcotics, and human trafficking, and returned them to uniformed patrol,” he wrote.
This article originally appeared on The Western Journal.