In a blog post on Wednesday, YouTube said that it would restrict all anti-vaccine content, expanding its ban on incorrect information on the COVID vaccines to include content that contains misinformation about other licensed vaccines.
According to YouTube’s policy, statements that the flu vaccine causes infertility and that the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, can cause autism are examples of content that will not be allowed.
The Alphabet Inc-owned online video firm is also censoring channels affiliated with anti-vaccine campaigners such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola.
“We are united around the world, we will not live in fear, we will stand together and recover our freedoms,” Mercola’s website stated in a news release.
“There is no occasion in history where censorship and secrecy has improved either democracy or public health,” Kennedy said in a statement.
YouTube and other tech firms like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have been chastised for failing to do enough to combat the spread of misleading health information on their platforms.
Even as YouTube takes a firmer stand against misinformation, it is seeing pushback from users all across the world. The German-language channels of Russian state-backed broadcaster RT were removed from YouTube on Tuesday, citing a violation of YouTube’s COVID-19 disinformation policy.
Russia slammed the action as “unprecedented information aggression” on Wednesday, threatening to stop YouTube.