Sep 29, 2021

Hany Farid on YouTube’s Anti-Vaccine Content Ban: “Why Was This Not the Policy From the Very Beginning?”

From Washington Post

YouTube is banning prominent anti-vaccine activists and blocking all anti-vaccine content

Gerrit De Vynck

SAN FRANCISCO — YouTube is taking down several video channels associated with high-profile anti-vaccine activists including Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who experts say are partially responsible for helping seed the skepticism that’s contributed to slowing vaccination rates across the country.

As part of a new set of policies aimed at cutting down on anti-vaccine content on the Google-owned site, YouTube will ban any videos that claim that commonly used vaccines approved by health authorities are ineffective or dangerous. The company previously blocked videos that made those claims about coronavirus vaccines, but not ones for other vaccines like those for measles or chickenpox...

“You create this breeding ground and when you deplatform it doesn’t go away, they just migrate,” said Hany Farid, a computer science professor and misinformation researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. “This is not one that should have been complicated. We had 18 months to think about these issues, we knew the vaccine was coming, why was this not the policy from the very beginning?”


Hany Farid is Associate Dean and Head of School for the University of California, Berkeley School of Information, and Senior Faculty Advisor for the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity.

Hany Farid (Brittany Hosea-Small)
Hany Farid (Brittany Hosea-Small)

Last updated:

October 15, 2021