YouTube has removed more than 1 million videos on its platform containing alleged misinformation related to COVID-19.
The Google-owned company announced the figure in a blog post Wednesday, “Perspective: Tackling Misinformation on YouTube,” written by Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer.
“Since last February, we’ve removed over 1 million videos related to dangerous coronavirus information, like false cures or claims of a hoax,” he said. The company focuses on removing content that can directly lead to “egregious real world harm,” according to Mohan.
YouTube also said it was addressing misinformation by optimizing search results to prioritize “quality” news and information from “trusted sources.” For information related to COVID-19, the company relied on “expert consensus” from health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
“In the midst of a global pandemic, everyone should be armed with absolutely the best information available to keep themselves and their families safe,” Mohan said.
YouTube received criticism for its enforcement of its COVID-19 misinformation policies after it suspended Sen. Rand Paul’s account, and removed several of the Kentucky Republican’s videos, over claims that cloth masks were not effective at stopping the spread of the virus. The tech company also removed Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis’ video of a press conference announcing her lawsuit against New York City over vaccine mandates.
YouTube’s announcement comes amid pressure from the Biden administration on tech companies to more aggressively police content for alleged COVID-19 misinformation. The White House announced it was flagging posts for Facebook to remove last month and said that spreaders of misinformation should be banned from all social media platforms.
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