YouTube announced on September 29 that the platform will tackle vaccine misinformation by removing anti-vaccine accounts and videos from its platform.
Taken at face value, the ban appears to be a wonderful move, one that would tackle disinformation and its profound effects on society, especially in the past year. Despite the good intentions, it is far too late for the banto to have an impact.
“Today’s policy update is an important step in tackling vaccine and health misinformation on our platform, and we will continue to invest at all levels in policies and products that provide high quality information to our viewers and the entire YouTube community, ”The YouTube team wrote in a blog post.
The ban would remove information that contradicts what officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration officials and doctors across the country have told people – that vaccines are safe and effective.
YouTube has already banned more than a million videos disseminating disinformation about COVID-19 since February 2020, according to a blog post.
With the amount of COVID-19 misinformation already visible online, it’s no exaggeration to say that banning such content will be of little use.
When people receive misinformation from someone they trust, it will stick because word of mouth is an effective way to convince people.
This is the most likely reason why COVID-19 vaccination rates are soaring in parts of the country, such as the northeast, but lagging behind in regions, such as the south.
These people will always have access to the same disinformation, regardless of a ban. Others, like trusted locals and TV presenters, still have large offline platforms where false information can be broadcast.
Additionally, the YouTube ban could set an ominous precedent: what else could they be censoring in today’s society?
Social media giants like Facebook, Inc. have already banned political ads and claims of disinformation. We can’t help but wonder what the next step might be.
In an age when social media giants have enormous communication power, it is essential to remain skeptical of their intentions and not allow these companies to control information too tightly.
Otherwise, if the wrong people get their hands on a business, censorship could wreak havoc on free speech.