September 29, 2021

Congressman Schiff on YouTube Removing Anti-Vaccine Content From Platform

“YouTube’s decision to crack down further on anti-vaccine and anti-science content is an important step in the ongoing fight against misinformation on social media. For the past several years, I have pushed YouTube and Google, as well as others, to take decisive action to ban the deadly spread of anti-vaccine campaigns on their platforms, as well as to warn users when they’ve interacted with false, misleading, and dangerous anti-vaccine content. I am grateful YouTube has announced these significant policy changes, which will help the United States reach its goals of immunizing the country against the coronavirus.

“I will be watching closely to see how these policies are enforced long-term through YouTube’s algorithms and actions, to make it more difficult to use the platform to spread conspiratorial falsehoods and deadly myths.

“Facebook and Amazon should take similar steps to stop the spread of anti-vaccine misinformation. Now more than ever, it is imperative that platforms take tangible action to protect the health and safety of all Americans, including by potentially refusing to give voice to those who spread anti-science and anti-vaccine misinformation – in many cases for profit – without consequence."

 

Earlier this month, Schiff urged Andy Jassy, Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, and Mark Zuckerberg, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, to transparently and thoroughly detail efforts they’ve undertaken to stop content that undermines science and promotes vaccine misinformation to the public. In 2019, Schiff sent a letter to Sundar Pichai and Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive Officers of Google and Facebook, respectively, to express concern that the companies’ platforms — including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram — were surfacing and recommending information that discourages parents from vaccinating their children, contributing to declining vaccination rates which could reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases. In 2020, he sent letters asking Pichai, Susan Wojcicki, and Jack Dorsey, the Chief Executive Officers of Alphabet, YouTube, and Twitter, respectively, to proactively inform users who engage with harmful coronavirus-related misinformation before it can be removed and to direct them to authoritative, medically accurate resources.

 

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