YouTube announced in a blog post on Wednesday that it will remove all anti-vaccine content, expanding its ban on misleading information on the COVID vaccines to include anything that offers misinformation about other authorized vaccines.
According to YouTube’s standards, statements that the flu vaccination causes infertility and that the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, can cause autism are examples of content that will not be permitted.
According to a YouTube representative, the online video business controlled by Alphabet is also blocking channels connected with many notable anti-vaccine campaigners, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola.
“We are united around the world, we will not live in fear, we will stand together and regain our liberties,” Mercola’s website stated in a news release.
“There is no occasion in history where censorship and secrecy has helped either democracy or public health,” Kennedy said in a statement.
The changes come after YouTube and other digital companies such as Facebook and Twitter were chastised for failing to do enough to combat the spread of misleading health information on their platforms.
Even as YouTube takes a firmer stand against disinformation, it is seeing blowback from users all around the world. The German-language channels of Russian state-backed broadcaster RT were removed from YouTube on Tuesday, citing a violation of YouTube’s COVID-19 disinformation policy.
Russia slammed the action as “unprecedented information assault” on Wednesday, threatening to ban YouTube.