The world’s second-largest search engine by volume is taking a hard approach to COVID-19 misinformation.
In an interview with CNN, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that the platform would outright ban any content that spread misinformation about the novel coronavirus including phony treatments and fake prevention techniques. As for the standard by which all of this content will be judged, the video platform’s CEO pointed to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 guidelines.
As those of you who probably followed in the news media, the WHO’s guidelines are themselves not without problems.
“Anything that goes against WHO recommendations would be a violation of our policy and so remove is another really important part of our policy,” she told CNN.
Of course, the idea that places like YouTube should monitor the information posted to them is one of the debates of our time. On top of whether or not the service should censor these kinds of things is an implicit acknowledgment that more and more people are getting their information from niche sources. Even so, as demonstrated in so many cases, the act of censorship by its very nature politicizes any process that would otherwise be devoid of those sentiments.
It’s interesting to watch questions of ownership over submitted material and who gets to post what to where unfold as technology progresses. As we’ve covered here, more often than not, creators get the short end of the stick no matter what their content is so we can only imagine how much more of a hurdle it might be for someone out there who is “going against the grain.”
What do you think of YouTube’s move to bring content on its platform in line with the World Health Organization’s current information regarding COVID-19? Heavy-handed censorship or needed in this time of global pandemic? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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