On August 15, Youtube announced in a blog post that it would remove all videos that spread false health information in the coming weeks. For this, the platform has updated its rules to fight against medical misinformation.
In order to protect Internet users, many videos spreading false health information will soon be deleted.
Three categories of videos will be targeted
Aware that health is not a subject like any other, Youtube declares in a blog post that it will put in place “a long-term sustainable structure for its rules, and preserve the necessary balance between the suppression of blatantly harmful content and maintaining a space that encourages debate and discussion”. The stated objective is to ensure that the platform “does not contain disturbing and potentially dangerous information on subjects that have been the subject of numerous scientific studies and reached a consensus”.
Videos belonging to three categories will therefore be deleted:
- False information concerning prevention: Youtube will remove any content that contradicts the guidelines of health authorities on the prevention and transmission of certain pathologies, as well as on the safety and effectiveness of authorized vaccines. For example, this includes any content that promotes hazardous substances for prevention purposes.
- False information concerning the treatments: Youtube will remove any content that contradicts health authority guidelines on treatments for certain medical conditions, including the promotion of specific dangerous substances or practices. For example, this includes any content recommending unproven remedies as an alternative to medical assistance for certain conditions, such as promoting cesium chloride as a cancer treatment.
- False information about disease denial: Youtube will remove any content that denies the existence of certain pathologies. This includes any content denying that people have died from COVID-19.
Special attention to cancer
Particular attention is paid to videos that talk about cancer. “When cancer patients and their loved ones are diagnosed, they often take to the internet to learn about symptoms and care pathways, and to find a sense of community. Our mission is to ensure that when ‘they turn to YouTube, they can easily find high-quality content from trusted medical sources.
And this therefore requires the removal from today of “any content promoting cancer treatments deemed dangerous or ineffective, or discouraging viewers from consulting a health professional. This includes any content that promotes treatments that has not been proven to be effective in place of approved treatments or as guaranteed cures, and that promotes treatments deemed dangerous by health authorities, such as a video claiming that “garlic cures cancer” or advising to “take vitamin C instead of radiotherapy” will be removed”.
Know how to distinguish quality health information
In the United States, Youtube is launching a playlist of validated cancer videos and says it is working with the Mayo Clinic on a series of videos to share information about the latest cutting-edge cancer treatments.
In Europe, we naturally think of Thierry Casasnovas, a raw food naturopath, recently placed in police custody for “mental hold” and “illegal practice of medicine” and “fraud”. Other pseudo-therapists are prosecuted for the deaths of clients they diverted from their treatment. If the actors in the fight against medical disinformation welcome this decision, other Internet users cry out for censorship. Beyond this will of Youtube, this underlines how important it is for Internet users to ensure the validity of the health information to which they may be exposed.
The information disseminated on the editorial part of TipsForWomens is based on the expertise of scientific journalists and a medical committee of experts covering several specialties.