YouTube Cracks Down On Medical Misinformation Videos

Youtube video

YouTube is also a reservoir for all sorts of dubious and sometimes dangerous content. This applies not only to politics and society but also to science and medicine. Above all, YouTube now wants to take sharp action against dangerous cancer fake news.

Widespread disease cancer

In Germany alone, more than 200,000 people die of cancer every year. One can and must describe cancer as one of the most dangerous widespread diseases of our time. A diagnosis of cancer is not an automatic death sentence, however, as many types can be successfully treated if caught early.

Unfortunately, however, there are always people who distrust traditional medicine and want to fight tumors with often esoteric methods. In many cases, these people not only endanger themselves, but also others, above all family members and, again and again, children. And the problem is only growing as misinformation like this spreads on social media.

One of the most important sources here is YouTube, the platform owned by Google is also often derided ironically as “YouTube University” because people can “catch up” on academic degrees and others with ten-minute videos. If it’s harmless nonsense, then you can see it as entertainment, but it becomes dangerous when it’s medical misinformation.

YouTube tightens measures

That’s why YouTube has now announced that it will step up removals of content that promote “harmful or ineffective” cancer treatments or discourage users from seeking professional medical care.

YouTube writes that over the past few years, it has learned more and more about the development of community guidelines and misinformation about Covid-19, vaccines, reproductive health, harmful substances, and more.

Specifically, the issue of cancer is now being addressed: “Starting today and increasingly in the coming weeks, we will begin removing content that promotes cancer treatments that have been shown to be harmful or ineffective, or content that discourages viewers from seeking professional medical treatment,” writes YouTube.

The video platform continued: “This includes content touting unproven treatments instead of approved therapies or as a guaranteed cure, as well as treatments that public health authorities have explicitly ruled harmful. A video claiming that ‘garlic cures cancer’ or ‘ Vitamin C to be used instead of radiotherapy’ would be removed, for example.”

It also explains how such fake news can come about and why YouTube plays such an important role: “When cancer patients and their families are confronted with a diagnosis, they often turn to online platforms to research symptoms, find out about inform treatment and find community. Our goal is to make sure they can find quality content from credible health sources on YouTube.”

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