YouTube bans all anti-vaccine content

BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 26: In this photo illustration the mouse cursor is pictured on the YouTube logo on March 26, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Florian Gaertner/Getty Images)
A mouse cursor is pictured on the YouTube logo. /Getty Images

YouTube will block all anti-vaccine content, moving beyond its ban on false information about COVID-19 vaccines to include material that contains misinformation about other approved vaccines.

YouTube said on Wednesday the expanded policy will apply to “currently administered vaccines that are approved and confirmed to be safe and effective by local health authorities and the World Health Organization.”

The new policy will also remove false claims about routine immunizations for diseases like measles, Hepatitis B, and influenza.

That would include cases where vloggers who post content on the platform have claimed that approved vaccines do not work, or wrongly linked them to chronic health effects.

The online video company is also banning channels associated with several prominent anti-vaccine activists including Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Joseph Mercola, a YouTube spokesperson said.

A news email for Mercola’s website said in a statement: “We are united across the world, we will not live in fear, we will stand together and restore our freedoms.”

Kennedy, who is a member of the prominent US political family, said in a statement: “There is no instance in history when censorship and secrecy has advanced either democracy or public health.”

YouTube said it had removed more than 130,000 videos since last year for violating its COVID-19 vaccine policies.