YouTube has insisted that keeping its platform open to a diversity of ideas is crucial to free speech, but the Google subsidiary has decided that criticism of the COVID vaccines should be censored, deeming it to be “misinformation” that poses a danger to the public.
The company is banning prominent anti-vaccine activists and blocking virtually all anti-vaccine content, the Washington Post reported.
Video channels associated with Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are among the targets, the paper said, noting “experts say” the two “are partially responsible for helping seed the skepticism that’s contributed to slowing vaccination rates across the country.”
In July, President Biden urged social media companies to address the spread of “misinformation” regarding the experimental COVID-19 vaccines.
Matt Halprin, YouTube’s vice president of global trust and safety, clarified that the ban on anti-vaccine content goes beyond the COVID vaccines, covering any vaccine.
Mercola and Kennedy have said they are not against all vaccines but have contended information about the risks of vaccines is being suppressed.
Halprin told the Post that YouTube’s policy will still allow people to make claims based on their own personal experience. And scientific discussion of vaccines and their historical failures or successes will also be allowed, he said.
But the YouTube spokesman said the platform will “remove claims that vaccines are dangerous or cause a lot of health effects, that vaccines cause autism, cancer, infertility or contain microchips.”
The Centers for Disease Control’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reports database, known as VAERS, as of Sept. 17 has 15,386 reported COVID vaccine deaths, 66,642 hospitalizations and 726,963 adverse events. VAERS is a voluntary reporting system that has been estimated to account for only 1% of vaccine injuries.
“At least hundreds” of moderators at YouTube have been assigned to work on medical misinformation, he said.
The Never-Trump Republican group the Lincoln Project reacted favorably on Twitter to the ban in one word: “Good.”
However, Renee Hoenderkamp, a British physician who contributes to BBC Radio London, spotlighted a major problem with the YouTube policy.
“The question is who decides what is misinformation?”
The question is who decides what is misinformation?
YouTube Bans Anti-Vaccine Misinformation – The New York Times https://t.co/DZRlD7Zhxn
— Renee Hoenderkamp (@DrHoenderkamp) September 29, 2021
Vivek Ramaswamy, the founder and executive chairman of the biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences, predicts the policy will backfire, arguing “censorship breeds mistrust.”
“Recall last year when Big Tech censored the lab leak hypothesis,” he said regarding the origin of the pandemic. “The public has no reason to trust their arbitration of truth.”
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.