The platform is taking fresh action against fake news relating to the coronavirus.

YouTube will remove covid-19 content that is either “medically unsubstantiated” or discredits World Health Organisation (WHO) advice.

The platform’s decision aims to limit the spread of misinformation relating to the global pandemic.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told CNN: “So people saying, ‘Take vitamin C, take turmeric, we’ll cure you,’ those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy.

“Anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy.”

Censorship concerns

The announcement has raised accusations of censorship by opponents who say the platform is neglecting its freedom of expression values.

Concerns also relate to content flagging, following issues surrounding the copyright-claim automatic-review system, which had been removing videos not in violation of policy guidelines.

Following the 5G ban

The latest move follows YouTube’s recent blanket ban on content viewed as spreading the conspiracy theory that 5G networks were causing covid-19 symptoms.

In March, the platform announced that coronavirus content would be demonetised, essentially barring advertisement revenue.

This decision was reversed after concerns were raised that this may cause harm to content creators providing social commentary on the situation.

“We want to make sure news organisations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way,” said Wojcicki.

A combined effort

Other social media platforms are also banning content that spreads misinformation about the coronavirus.

Facebook has announced that users who have read, watched or shared false covid-19 information would receive a pop-up alert urging them to visit the WHO’s website.

WhatsApp has also stopped users from forwarding messages already shared more than four times by the wider community to more than one chat at a time.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has praised online companies for taking such actions. Speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, he said: “I pay tribute to the work they have done.”

Dowden then urged them to take down inaccurate information faster during “out of hours” periods such as evenings and weekends.

YouTube has stated that their primary goal is “raising authoritative information” from news sources which have seen a 75% increase in views since the start of 2020.

Hopefully, YouTube and other social media platforms can successfully implement these bans and reduce the spread of coronavirus misinformation.

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