Is YouTube Doing Enough to Curb Health Misinformation?

Trending 2 weeks ago

Misinformation and disinformation proliferate online. Are YouTube's ongoing changes capable to beforehand trustworthy wellness content?

YouTube logo connected a smartphone

Key Takeaways

  • YouTube has many times adjusted policies to tackle wellness misinformation, aiming to protect users from inaccurate wellness contented while preserving important conversations.
  • The level categorizes misinformation into 3 types—prevention, treatment, and denial—and will region contented that contradicts charismatic guidance connected these topics.
  • Despite these efforts, YouTube has been criticized successful nan past for not doing capable to quell nan dispersed of misinformation and could return further steps to protect viewers.

In August 2023, Google announced a alteration to and a semipermanent imagination for YouTube’s aesculapian misinformation policies. With YouTube having a history of being a notorious root of damaging misinformation, you mightiness beryllium wondering if this update is capable to protect group from being exposed to inaccurate aesculapian content.

Here, we return a look astatine YouTube’s misinformation policies and talk whether Google’s video-streaming elephantine is doing capable to protect its users.

What Is Health Misinformation, and Why Is It a Problem?

As misinformation is often confused pinch disinformation, let’s return a speedy look astatine nan quality to amended understand nan two:

  • Misinformation is simply inaccurate accusation that’s dispersed connected nan internet, sloppy of its intent.
  • Disinformation is inaccurate aliases mendacious accusation that is deliberately dispersed to manipulate, mislead, and deceive people.

While not intentionally harmful, misinformation tin person devastating effects, particularly erstwhile it hits societal media and spreads for illustration wildfire. It’s easy to position a video connected YouTube and judge nan contented without question, particularly erstwhile creators show specified assured claims. This is portion of nan logic why YouTube is cracking down connected wellness misinformation.

Why Has YouTube Changed Its Policies?

In YouTube’s announcement, nan level explained that it needed a argumentation model that balances nan effects of "removing egregiously harmful contented while ensuring abstraction for statement and discussion." Its ngo is to supply high-quality contented from reliable sources, alternatively than beryllium nan perpetrator of damaging wellness misinformation.

YouTube’s argumentation besides highlights its consciousness of really removing contented from its level could inadvertently lend to censoring important conversations. In 2023, YouTube announced changes to its Elections Misinformation Policy, stating that it wouldn’t region contented claiming “widespread fraud, errors, aliases glitches” successful erstwhile elections to debar unintentionally curtailing governmental speech.

Screenshot of YouTube Medical Misinformation Policy

The main purpose of nan 2023 aesculapian misinformation policies is to protect against nan dispersed of misleading and damaging mendacious wellness contented without wholly shutting down important conversations. The mobility still remains whether this is capable to tackle misinformation connected YouTube.

What Changes Has YouTube Made (And Are They Enough to Prevent Health Misinformation)?

YouTube is now streamlining aesculapian misinformation guidelines to autumn into 3 categories: Prevention, Treatment, and Denial.

The model looks for illustration this:

  1. Prevention misinformation: YouTube will region contented that contradicts charismatic guidance connected nan prevention and transmission of circumstantial wellness conditions, including nan information and efficacy of approved vaccines.
  2. Treatment misinformation: Content that contradicts charismatic wellness guidance connected treatments for circumstantial wellness conditions—including promoting circumstantial harmful substances aliases practices—will beryllium removed. This includes contented that encourages unproven remedies successful spot of seeking aesculapian attraction for circumstantial conditions.
  3. Denial misinformation: Content that disputes nan beingness of circumstantial wellness conditions will beryllium removed, specified arsenic videos that contradict group died from COVID-19.

YouTube is besides cracking down connected crab curen misinformation. Recognizing that patients and their loved ones often hunt online spaces for advice, support, and community, nan level is now removing immoderate contented that contradicts proven aesculapian curen aliases care.

Has YouTube Been successful Trouble for Spreading Misinformation Before?

In 2022, world fact-checking organizations revealed YouTube to beryllium a awesome root of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide, according to The Guardian. YouTube was slated for not doing capable to tackle nan dispersed of falsehoods connected its level and for allowing its level to beryllium weaponized by “actors” whose intentions were to manipulate and utilization others.

The 2020 US Presidential predetermination was different misfire for YouTube, wherever nan level was slow to instrumentality protection policies against reams of incorrect claims astir nan predetermination from creators. False stories connected YouTube included claims that an “overwhelming magnitude of fraud” tipped Pennsylvania and that China had worked pinch Democrats to bargain nan midterm elections.

The New York Times revealed that portion of nan problem for researchers monitoring misinformation connected YouTube lies successful constricted entree to information and nan time-intensive activity of scouring videos for misinformation. This tin let YouTube contented to alert nether nan radar much easy than text-based posts connected Facebook aliases X (formerly Twitter).

When it comes to misleading and mendacious wellness claims, YouTube was besides responsible for hosting COVID-19-related misinformation videos successful 2020. According to nan Oxford Internet Institute, YouTube videos containing mendacious accusation astir nan COVID-19 pandemic accrued much shares connected societal media than those connected 5 starring news broadcasters combined.

What Other Steps Could YouTube Take to Tackle Health Misinformation?

The effect of spreading wellness misinformation online can’t beryllium understated, which intends YouTube has a batch to reply for. Despite its existent wellness misinformation policies, YouTube could make stronger efforts to protect its viewers and penalize creators of misinformation (and disinformation).

In summation to its existent efforts to combat wellness misinformation, YouTube could automatically emblem imaginable wellness misinformation to viewers. Just arsenic Instagram provides a informing earlier viewing a station pinch perchance delicate content, YouTube could thief protect viewers and inhibit nan dispersed of misinformation by flagging videos containing imaginable misinformation that don’t supply master credentials aliases scientifically backed resources.

How to Spot and Combat Health Misinformation connected YouTube

Youtube committee clapper indicating deliberate misinformation

You tin further protect yourself from wellness misinformation connected YouTube and find trustworthy contented instead. Here are a fewer speedy tips to thief you swerve mendacious wellness content:

  1. Check for recognized credentials. If you’re watching wellness contented connected YouTube, it’s important to vet nan person’s authority connected nan taxable they are discussing. If you’re watching aesculapian content, is nan creator a registered doctor? If location isn’t a clear distinction, deliberation astir whether nan video is providing individual anecdotes (potentially misinformation) aliases evidence-based subject (potentially trusted source).
  2. Identify affiliations aliases sponsorships. A large reddish emblem erstwhile it comes to wellness misinformation connected immoderate online level is if nan personification you’re watching is sponsored by, promoting, aliases trading products aliases services. If you judge nan YouTube creator to person ulterior motives different than sharing meticulous wellness information, springiness them a swerve.
  3. Be wary of clickbait aliases sensationalist titles. Misinformation thrives connected sensationalism and fearfulness strategies to pull viewers. If what you’re viewing connected YouTube has a sensationalist title aliases makes utmost claims, it’s a bully thought to debar that content.

If you do spot wellness misinformation while browsing, it’s worthy reporting nan inappropriate contented to YouTube. This tin thief tackle misinformation and protect chap viewers from perchance harmful content.

YouTube Is Tackling Health Misinformation—But You Still Need to Be Vigilant

While YouTube is targeting wellness misinformation connected its platform, it’s not nan cleanable solution to nan problem. It pays to stay vigilant while watching wellness contented online. Remember to look for master credentials and regulated bodies from nan creators of nan videos you watch, arsenic good arsenic beryllium alert of sensationalist contented and individual anecdotes of nuanced wellness topics. If you judge you are watching misinformation, study nan video to YouTube to thief trim nan dispersed of mendacious wellness misinformation.

Source Tutorials