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COVID-19: YouTube Removes More Than 500,000 Misinformation Content

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In the past 12 months, YouTube announced that it has removed over a million COVID-19 misinformation content from its platform.

Since the past year, there have been concerns regarding the misinformation of the Covid-19 vaccine.

However, in its quest to clear the baseless claims, it updated its policy in October to ban contents that contradict “expert consensus” from the World Health Organisation and other health authorities.

The Google-owned company has been scrutinising its platform for information.

Some of them are claims that the virus causes infertility, is a hoax, among others.

There was also misinformation about promoting not authoritative cures or implants of microchips on people’s bodies.

“We’ve continued to make updates to our Covid-19 policies to stay current with the science, and we’ve removed more than half a million videos under these policies since February,” Said Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO.

In a blog post, Susan highlighted that the company keeps working on new ways to eradicate misinformation; hence, updating its policy.

We’ve updated our policies to remove egregious medical misinformation about COVID-19 to prohibit things to prohibit things like saying the virus is a hoax or promoting medically unsubstantiated cures in place of seeking treatment.

In her quarterly letter, she added that the essence of this was to meet up with the government’s guidelines.

“We’re always working to strike the right balance between openness and responsibility as we meet the guidelines set by governments around the world.”

This came after pressure had been kept on its owner, Google, to stop the spread of vaccinations’ misinformation.

As the platform has had a history for several years in dealing with anti-vax contents.

In 2019, an open letter was written to Google CEO by Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, to fix anti-vax content on Google’s platform.

YouTube spikes

Also, Susan points out the site’s consistent growth over the past month.

She said due to the effect of the pandemic, YouTube experienced a 25 per cent watch time increase globally.

Also, she included that during the first half of the year, the total daily live stream increased by 45 per cent; and more than half a million YouTube channels tried live streaming for the first time.

This was as a result of people constantly looking for information and entertainment.

She added: “The pandemic has accelerated our digital lives.”

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YouTube’s actionable commitment

In its commitment to keep fighting misinformation, Google added that it has consulted with over 85 local health communities to get authoritative and trusted content.

It said to have served over 400 billion impressions of information panel relating to COVID-19.

Also, it is working together with creators to spread the word on authoritative information.

“Our teams are working hard to use all the resources available to us, including the outreach of creators, to help people receive the most accurate and up-to-date information about vaccines.”

Creators have also conducted over 60 interviews with some health practitioners on how to manage stress during COVID-19.

Including in its homepage, Google said it added an alert pointing to authoritative sources, videos on its homepage.

It also recently announced that it would launch an initiative, ‘Get The Fact’ alongside its owner, Google.

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