Medical misinformation is rampant online, and YouTube is making a bigger effort to curb the problem on its platform. In a new blog post, YouTube is laying out an updated policy against medical misinformation which will also target cancer “treatments” that are known to be harmful.
YouTube is “streamlining” its position and policies on medical misinformation, advancing what was put in place when COVID-19 pushed medical misinformation to new heights. YouTube says its updated policy will fall into three categories – Prevention, Treatment, and Denial.
For “Prevention,” YouTube says it will remove content that “contradicts health authority guidance on the prevention and transmission of specific health conditions, and on the safety and efficacy of approved vaccines.” “Denial” covers content that “disputes the existence of specific health conditions” such as claiming that denies that people have died from COVID-19.
As far as “Treatment” goes, YouTube will remove content that “contradicts health authority guidance on treatments for specific health conditions, including promoting specific harmful substances or practices” such as directly telling viewers to try unproven remedies in place of seeking professional medical help for specific conditions such as cancer.
Cancer treatments are a clear target of the new policy. YouTube explains that, as cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, content that pushes people to try unproven treatments over professional help will be removed from YouTube.
Starting today, YouTube will begin removing content that breaks its policies regarding cancer treatments.
…we will begin removing content that promotes cancer treatments proven to be harmful or ineffective, or content that discourages viewers from seeking professional medical treatment. This includes content that promotes unproven treatments in place of approved care or as a guaranteed cure, and treatments that have been specifically deemed harmful by health authorities. For instance, a video that claims “garlic cures cancer,” or “take vitamin C instead of radiation therapy” would be removed.
YouTube says that the goal of this policy update is to help content creators “understand where the policy lines are” and to help viewers be able to trust the health information they find on YouTube.
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