YouTube to Ban Prominent Vaccine Skeptics, Including Robert F Kennedy Jr

“Developing robust policies takes time,” says company

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YouTube is taking steps to remove content from prominent COVID-19 vaccine skeptics.

First reported by the Washington Post, the ban will center on accounts run by people like Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy. The ban comes in the form of a set of new policies. YouTube will ban any videos that claim that commonly used vaccines approved by health officials are ineffective or dangerous.

YouTube has enacted similar measures against accounts sharing misinformation about COVID-19.

Matt Halprin, YouTube’s vice president of global trust and safety, told the Post, “Developing robust policies takes time. We wanted to launch a policy that is comprehensive, enforceable with consistency and adequately addresses the challenge.”

YouTube and other social media platforms have been blamed for the spread of anti-vaccine sentiments, but they have resisted calls to enact harsh restrictions.

The penalties for accounts sharing general COVID-19 misinformation were quicker to come. Sen. Rand Paul’s YouTube account was suspended last month after he posted a video questioning the effectiveness of masks in stopping the spread of COVID-19. This is the second coronavirus video of the senator’s that YouTube has removed in keeping with its guidelines: “YouTube doesn’t allow content about COVID-19 that poses a serious risk of egregious harm. YouTube doesn’t allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19.”

Similarly, One America News Network saw its account suspended in November 2020 for spreading “harmful” misinformation about the virus.

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