YouTube has expanded its policies regarding so-called Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) “misinformation.” The popular video-sharing platform has now banned all videos that seek out prayer or faith healing against the coronavirus.

“The safety of our creators, viewers and partners is our highest priority,” claimed YouTube in its policy page about so-called COVID-19 medical misinformation. “We look to each of you to help us protect this unique and vibrant community. It’s important you understand our Community Guidelines and the role they play in our shared responsibility to keep YouTube safe.”

This COVID-19 misinformation policy prevents any video that “contradicts local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO).”

This means any video that questions the guidance of the WHO or other local health authorities regarding how to prevent, diagnose, treat or transmit COVID-19 will be censored from YouTube. Videos that also question social distancing and self-isolation guidelines, as well as the very existence of COVID-19, are also banned from the site.

Regarding videos that talk about COVID-19 treatment, YouTube’s policy will outright ban any content “that encourages the use of home remedies, prayer or rituals in place of medical treatment such as consulting a doctor or going to the hospital.”

This includes all content that recommends the use of ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, questions the efficacy of masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and claims that wearing masks can have negative health effects. The policy even extends to censoring videos that provide claims “about COVID-19 vaccination that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or WHO.”

YouTube’s mass censorship drive is “good for business”

On Aug. 12, some of YouTube’s executives joined a panel at a global conference to discuss the threat of so-called misinformation regarding COVID-19. During the talk, YouTube’s director and global head of healthcare and public health Garth Graham said the video-sharing platform has removed more than 800,000 videos “that were misaligned in terms of science.”

Graham likened the mass censorship to “pulling out the weeds” in a garden. He added that his company is figuring out a way to give YouTube’s users different kinds of content that can engage them and pull them away from so-called COVID-19 misinformation.

“You’ve got to replace it with engaging things that people are looking for, because a lot of the time, people are searching for answers, and may be gravitating to the wrong things,” said Graham.

This shows that YouTube will continue censoring any content that it claims pushes its users “to the wrong things.”

The question that then needs to be asked is why YouTube insists on doing this. Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan answered that the video-sharing platform wants to be better at content moderation because it is good for business.

On Monday, Aug. 23, Mohan announced YouTube already has two million content creators that it regularly pays. Mohan claimed YouTube has given content creators more than $30 billion for producing videos on the website over the last three years. This is on top of the 14-year-old program that shares ad money for every time a popular video is viewed and other methods of directly compensating content creators on the website.

But Mohan said the catch is that YouTube will only actively reward content creators “who play by the rules.” This means these creators who get paid by YouTube are prohibiting from sharing claims that the website deems to be misinformation.

To further prevent the spread of so-called COVID-19 misinformation, Mohan said the company was creating collaborations with public health authorities and content creators to put out videos that parrot mainstream thought regarding the coronavirus.

“I hope that we are perceived as ultimately a positive voice here,” said Mohan.

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