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YouTube is cracking down on abortion misinformation

by George Mensah
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On Twitter today, YouTube announced that it will remove content that includes instructions for unsafe abortion methods or false claims about abortion safety.

Claims will be reviewed in light of the company’s current misinformation policy, which prohibits content that is manipulated or misattributed, promotes “dangerous remedies, cures, or substances,” or “contradict[s] expert consensus on certain safe medical practices.”

In a tweet, YouTube stated, “Like all of our policies on health/medical topics, we rely on published guidance from health authorities.” “We prioritize connecting people to authoritative health content, and we constantly review our policies and products as real-world events unfold.”

In order to provide users with access to authoritative sources, the platform will also begin displaying information panels under certain abortion-related videos or search results. These panels, which it has also used for topics such as COVID-19, provide context and information from local and international health authorities.

As recently as April 2022, YouTube was chastised for its handling of abortion-related content, when a nearly 40-minute video framed as an investigative documentary from major creators the LaBrant Family compared abortion to the horrors of the Holocaust. The video, produced in collaboration with the anti-abortion group Live Action and featuring only pro-life doctors and women, was panned by the family’s more than 13.1 million subscribers for its one-sided portrayal of the issue.

Despite the fact that YouTube demonetized the video, it is still viewable on the site and, with 4.3 million views, is the platform’s 15th most-watched abortion video, according to a YouTube search conducted today. Currently, beneath it, an information panel citing the National Library of Medicine reads, “Abortion is a method of terminating a pregnancy. The embryo or fetus and placenta are removed from the uterus using medicine or surgery. A licensed healthcare professional performs the procedure.”

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Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, told Fortune in June that her personal views on abortion were that “When it comes to motherhood, women should have a choice… Reproductive rights are human rights.” However, when it comes to YouTube and “As a company that values free speech, we want to ensure that we enable a diverse range of viewpoints, and that everyone has the right to express themselves as long as they adhere to our community guidelines.”

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