YouTube Takes Action Against Videos That Advocate for ‘Ineffective’ Cancer Treatments


According to a Tuesday announcement from YouTube, the company is eliminating content that encourages users to forego seeking medical attention or that promotes “harmful or ineffective” cancer therapies. The modification is being made in accordance with YouTube’s modernized and updated medical misrepresentation policy.

The new policy will have content removed that directly promotes treatments that have been determined to be dangerous by medical authorities or that are promoted as a sure cure or as an alternative to recommended care. For instance, a video that suggests “taking vitamin C instead of radiation therapy” or “garlic cures cancer” would be taken down.

In a blog post, YouTube stated that “when cancer patients and their loved ones are given a diagnosis, they often turn to online spaces to research symptoms, learn about treatment journeys, and find community.” “Our goal is to make sure customers can quickly locate trustworthy health content on YouTube when they search for it. Cancer treatment misinformation fits the framework when using our updated methodology because it poses a significant risk to public health given that it is one of the world’s leading causes of death, there is a stable consensus about safe cancer treatments among national and international health authorities, and it is a subject that is prone to misinformation.

In the future, YouTube will enforce its policy against medical misinformation if the content poses a significant risk to public health, contains publicly available advice from international health authorities, and is typically prone to misinformation. YouTube claims it must maintain the critical balance between deleting egregiously harmful content and preserving room for discussion and debate.

According to YouTube, its regulations regarding false material about cancer treatments will go into effect today, with enforcement stepping up in the ensuing weeks. The business intends to promote the Mayo Clinic and other reliable sources’ content on cancer.

A few years after tightening its strategy to combat health and vaccine disinformation during the COVID-19 epidemic, the platform has modified its regulations. YouTube banned the false COVID-19 videos from their platform in 2020. A year later, the business increased its policies against medical disinformation to include prohibitions against misinformation regarding vaccines. At that time, the firm had already blocked more than 1 million videos due to false information on COVID-19. According to the revised policy, YouTube will also begin eliminating content that distributes false information regarding vaccination safety, vaccine efficacy, and vaccine ingredients.

YouTube announced last year that it will start taking action against films that spread false information about abortion and would also remove any dangerous videos. Additionally, the business introduced an information panel that displays material from national and international health organizations above pertinent search results and beneath films linked to abortion.

YouTube changed its policies for handling eating disorder content on its site earlier this year. YouTube is banning video concerning eating disorders that could encourage viewers to emulate eating disorders, even though the network has long since removed content that glorifies or promotes eating disorders.

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