YouTube has expanded its far-reaching “medical misinformation” rules beyond COVID-19 vaccines and will now censor any content that “falsely alleges that approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects, claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease, or contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines will be removed.”
In addition to restricting what users are allowed to say about any vaccine that has been approved by health authorities, YouTube has used this newly introduced policy to instantly ban several popular channels on the platform including those of Children's Health Defense founder Robert F. Kennedy Jr, osteopathic physician Dr. Joseph Mercola, Health Nut News founder Erin Elizabeth, and Dr. Sherri Tenpenny.
Democratic politicians and Attorneys General have been pressuring Big Tech platforms to censor Kennedy Jr, Mercola, Elizabeth, Tenpenny, and others ever since they were named in a “Disinformation Dozen” report that was published by the non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) earlier this year. Kennedy Jr, Elizabeth, and others who were named in that report have already been censored by other social media platforms.
While YouTube's new policy does contain the caveat that users are allowed to question vaccine safety if it falls within the bounds of “rare side effects that are recognized by health authorities,” it doesn't elaborate on whether this also applies to discussing studies that haven't been acknowledged by health authorities.
Dr. Mercola responded to YouTube banning his account by accusing the media and YouTube of collusion.
“The Washington Post published a story that was clearly embargoed and fed to them by YouTube in advance,” Mercola wrote. “The reporter gave less than 40 minutes to respond to the story they had prewritten, clearly the media and the censorship platforms continue the obvious collusion supporting a tyrannical regime.”
He also called out the mass social media censorship that has taken place under COVID and predicted that “independent media platforms that defend freedom of speech and the rights of Americans to speak out against the global tyranny will defeat the censorship extremists.”
Elizabeth also blasted YouTube for deleting her and others in response to the mainstream media's amplification of the CCDH's Disinformation Dozen report.
YouTube's purge of popular accounts and increased restrictions on vaccine discussions follow its Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan recently stating that stopping the spread of “misinformation” and “violative content” is his “number one priority.”
It also follows Joe Biden's White House placing mounting pressure on the tech giants this year by calling for users that are banned for misinformation on one platform to be banned from all platforms, admitting that it flags content for social media platforms to censor, and even meeting with some social media platforms to urge them to stop the spread of “misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines.”
Not only are these new rules greatly restricting what users are allowed to say about vaccines on YouTube but they're another example of the tech giant retroactively enforcing its rules so that it can censor old videos that were compliant with the rules at the time they were uploaded and even ban channels whose videos weren't breaking any rules at the time of upload.
YouTube previously faced criticism for retroactively enforcing its updated “harassment” policy in 2019. Many creators responded to this decision by noting that targeting videos that were compliant at the time of upload is unfair and accused the tech giant of “screwing with their lives.”