Coronavirus: YouTube Bans ‘Medically Unsubstantiated’ Content

BY CYBER POLE | Updated April 24, 2020

Online video streaming giant YouTube does not lag when dealing with fraudulent or misinformed contents. Moreover, the recent rise of the novel coronavirus has led to irrelevant and inappropriate contents. With the increase in the number of contents regarding the COVID-19, the company plans to remove all the information that directly contradicts the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The company also claimed to remove things that are “medically unsubstantiated”.

The larger number of unverified content has brought huge misinformation to the viewers. Moreover, chief executive Susan Wojcicki claims to stamp out “misinformation on the platform”. This follows with the Google-owned video giant banning fake conspiracies of linking COVID-19 to 5G networks. CEO, Wojcicki appeared on her first interview on Wednesday since the global lockdown claiming the remark.

What YouTube Claims?

Mrs Wojcicki further stated to CNN that “Take vitamin C, take turmeric, we’ll cure you” those were few of the examples that were against the policy of the company. Likewise, she also stressed that “Anything that goes against World Health Organization advise would be a violation of their policy”.

Meanwhile, according to her, YouTube has seen a huge upsurge of viewers demanding for “authoritative” sources. In addition to that, YouTube’s over 75% of viewers wanted non-tailored and genuine information. This comes in the wake after its competitor Facebook announced pop-up alert allowing users to visit the WHO’s website as many of the users were receiving fraudulent information regarding COVID-19.

Similarly, online messaging giant Whatapp (Owned by Facebook) stopped forwarding messages shared by communities with more than four times forward of one chat.  

Response from The Leaders

The secretary of culture praised social media giants for taking responsible measures during such times. Misinformation has done much more harm after the spread of information. Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary stated “I pay tribute to the work they have done” in a meeting held at Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on Wednesday. However, he advised media giants to take down such inaccurate information during “out of hours” precisely in the evenings and the weekends.

Human Interest

Major publishers including Daily Telegraph as well as Guardian has bashed technology giant Google for failing to provide transparency on the approach regarding coronavirus related content. Major brands have used the blacklist filters to minimize advertisement running with keywords like “coronavirus” or “pandemic”. Likewise, these filters are not new to the market, such modules are implemented by car manufactures to avoid advertisement alongside road accident keywords.

Where Does the Hurdle Lie?

Keyword blocking or ad blocking system could cost up to £40m ($50m) in the year-end. Therefore, newspaper companies need to face the economic burden along with the ongoing economic complexities. Likewise, media companies are also frustrated with “inoffensive” content including uplifting human interest stories which prevent in running the ads.