YouTube broke from its social counterparts Wednesday to ban misinformation related to all vaccines, an escalation of a policy already imposed on COVID-19 vaccine-related videos. The move includes banning prominent far-right anti-vaxxers, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola. “We’ve steadily seen false claims about the coronavirus vaccines spill over into misinformation about vaccines in general, and we’re now at a point where it’s more important than ever to expand the work we started with COVID-19 to other vaccines,” the company said in a blog post. It also said it removed more than 130,000 misinformation videos surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine in the last year. “Today’s policy update is an important step to address vaccine and health misinformation on our platform,” YouTube said.
Some exceptions will include videos that demonstrate the history of vaccines, including vaccine successes and failures; videos featuring vaccine trials; and personal testimony videos, so long as the account does not have a history of frequently promoting vaccine hesitancy.