YouTube recently initiated a ban on anti-vax videos, and terminating accounts of anti-vaccine influencers.
Some people believe that it’s excessive censorship, but really – the bigger problems are abuse and stupid AI.
YouTube Anti-Vax Ban : What Is It?
After months of letting anti-vaccine influencers spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination, YouTube finally cracked down.
On 29 September 2021, YouTube expanded their medical misinformation policies, removing thousands of videos and even terminating accounts of anti-vaccine influencers.
Specifically, content that falsely alleges that approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects, claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease, or contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines will be removed.
YouTube Anti-Vax Ban Problems : Abuse + Stupid AI
At that time, I celebrated their decision because YouTube has let these anti-vaccine influencers spread misinformation for far too long.
My friend, Ian, felt that it was excessive censorship – an opinion echoed by many on the Internet.
However, at that time, I told him that I was far more worried about abuse and their stupid AI. That proved to be prescient…
Just FOUR DAYS LATER, I was hit by a Community Guidelines Strike for a video designed to fight against medical misinformation on ivermectin and COVID-19.
Our team has reviewed your content, and, unfortunately, we think it violates our medical misinformation policy. We’ve removed the following content from YouTube:
Why Dr. Pierre Kory Got COVID-19 Even On FLCCC Ivermectin Prophylaxis!
YouTube does not allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization (WHO) medical information about COVID-19.
Your channel now has 1 strike. You won’t be able to do things like upload, post, or live stream for 1 week. A second strike will prevent you from publishing content for 2 weeks. Three strikes in the same 90 day period will result in your channel being permanently removed from YouTube.
When I uploaded video, I made sure it passed the YouTube check. But after about a dozen people viewed the video, it was taken down by YouTube.
Either YouTube’s AI algorithm flagged it or some people reported it as medical misinformation – which isn’t shocking. Trolls have been trying to take down our fact check videos, by abusing the YouTube reporting system.
But for the YouTube team to agree with them – that’s something special.
You can take a look at a low-resolution version of the video here, and see for yourself if it promotes medical misinformation.
YouTube Anti-Vax Ban Problems : Ignorant Appeal Team
It also appears that the YouTube Appeal Team is either ignorant or biased. They immediately rejected my appeal :
We reviewed your content carefully, and have confirmed that it violates our medical misinformation policy. We know this is probably disappointing news, but it’s our job to make sure that YouTube is a safe place for all.
The odd thing is – this isn’t a new video. It was an updated version of this older video, with more details to refute claims by ivermectin supporters.
I also added information on COVID-19 vaccines, sharing that they have all successfully passed their clinical trials, unlike ivermectin.
The updated video also makes a stronger call for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, the YouTube appeal team still insists that this is medical misinformation… #SMH
This was what I feared – not censorship, but abuse and a stupid AI… and what looks like ignorance.
Mistakes by AI algorithms are a real problem. I have been hit by warnings for FACT CHECKING fake news. But it looks like ignorance is also a problem.
The YouTube appeal team does not seem to know how to differentiate between real medical misinformation and a fact check of medical misinformation.
So now we have been hit by a permanent strike for trying to help fight against misinformation. That does NOT bode well for YouTube’s “fight” against fake news…
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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