According to the CEO of the Google-owned video service, in just one year, YouTube has removed no less than half a million videos that spread misinformation and misleading information about COVID-19.
“We’ve continued to make updates to our Covid-19 policies to stay current with the science, and we’ve removed more than half a million videos under these policies since February,” Wojcicki wrote in the letter. “Now our focus has turned toward the possibilities ahead with vaccination.”
This applies even more now that YouTube has seen a noticeable increase in usage during the pandemic. The first quarter of 2020 brought an increase of 25% in watch time globally and 45% in total daily live streams.
“The pandemic has accelerated our digital lives,”Youtube CEO Susan Wojcicki
But unfortunately, it has also helped spread misinformation on different platforms.
This is probably one of the reasons why, back in October, Youtube updated its policy in order to more easily stop the spread of false information about coronavirus vaccinations, or information that contradicts “the consensus of experts”. Which in this case translates as the World Health Organization (WHO), official health authorities, or important representatives of the scientific community.
“It’s a priority to continue to update our approach to responsibility so people find high-quality information when they come to our platform,” Wojcicki added. ”We’re always working to strike the right balance between openness and responsibility as we meet the guidelines set by governments around the world.”
The letter comes in the wake of the Capitol riot from 6 January as well as an increasing number of pandemic fueled conspiracy theorists along with other claims suggesting that the virus is a hoax or that the vaccine contains tracking microchips.
The avalanche of false news videos has also made YouTube more severe with its policy against false claims of election fraud and suspended then-President Donald Trump earlier this month. And recently the ban has been extended for another week.