YouTube has disabled anti-vaccine ads

    A month ago, YouTube announced that it plans to exclude conspiracy theories from the list of recommendations. On the one hand, this violates freedom of speech. On the other hand, YouTube has the right to set its own rules, as it is a commercial service.

    Now the company has confirmed its line and went even further. She generally turned off ads on vaccine and vaccine harm channels . According to a statement by YouTube, these materials violate the rules prohibiting the monetization of videos with "dangerous and harmful" content.

    Thus, “anti-vaccinators” are losing an important source of funding and there is hope that some of them will curtail their activities.

    In fairness, we must admit that YouTube in this case is not so much fighting for justice as it follows the opinion of advertisers and the public. Recently, there has been a discussion about why advertising of famous brands appears in videos against vaccinations. After all, if you draw a logical chain, then these materials are related to the deaths of thousands of people who died due to refusal of vaccinations against measles and other diseases. Concerned advertisers have begun filming ads from these videos, BuzzFeed writes . Among the companies that asked to turn off ads in anti-vaccination videos are jewelry company Brilliant Earth, software developer SolarWinds, Vitacost store and marijuana maker CWCBExpo.

    Noticing this trend, YouTube decided to completely turn off ads to anti-vaccinators.

    “We have strict rules that govern in which videos ads are allowed. Vaccination videos violate these guidelines, a YouTube spokeswoman said. “We are actively applying this policy, and if we find a video that violates it, we will immediately take action and remove the advertisement.”

    Previous researchshowed that YouTube gives the correct results for queries such as “vaccine safety” (links to materials from children's hospitals and other medical institutions, etc.), but then obscurantism begins in the list of recommendations for further viewing: often there are videos of anti-vaccinators with headlines like "Mom studied the vaccine information, was horrified and wrote a refusal."

    Seven different advertisers said they did not know about the placement of their ads in such videos and asked YouTube to stop this mess. We are talking about a number of channels against vaccines, including VAXXED TV, LarryCook333 (supporters of the StopMandatoryVaccinations_com movement), and iHealthTube. Since then, YouTube has banned ads on all of these channels.

    In addition to removing ads, YouTube has introduced a special dashboard for anti-vaccination channels with a link to the Anti-Vaccination wiki page . Such a panel used to be shown only on anti-vaccination videos where measles, mumps and rubella vaccines were mentioned, and now its action has been extended to a longer list of vaccinations.

    Larry Cook, leader of the anti-vaccination movement StopMandatoryVaccinations, confirmed on his Facebook that his entire channel was demonetized, and YouTube did not even contact him and did not report the changes: “It’s unfortunate that YouTube does not see value in advertisers that are aimed at a very large and a thriving demographic group that believes in alternative medicine, holistic health and natural medicines, Cook said. “Closing monetization on alternative medicine channels simply means that advertisers will go elsewhere to reach their target audience.”

    After a measles outbreak in the US last week, Congressman Adam Schiff demandedfrom Facebook and Google to consider the risks of spreading medical vaccine misinformation on their platforms. Facebook replied that it’s “taking steps to reduce the spread of health-related misinformation on Facebook.” Google recalled efforts to fundamentally struggle with all the conspiracy theories on YouTube: “Like many algorithmic changes, these changes in the recommendation system will be gradual, and their accuracy will be refined over time,” a Google spokesman said.

    The World Health Organization has called anti-vaccination “one of the 10 global threats of 2019” for human health and lives. According to WHO, in the first half of 2018, more than 41 thousand inhabitants of Europe were infected with measles: more than in any year of the previous decade. Computer simulation showed that a 5% decrease in the number of vaccinated children leads to a three-fold increase in the incidence .

    Also popular now: