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YouTube will prohibit false assertions about cancer treatments as part of its policy against medical misinformation

On Tuesday, YouTube made an official declaration that it will commence the process of eliminating inaccurate assertions pertaining to cancer treatments. This initiative is a continuation of the platform’s endeavors to expand and enhance its policy on medical misinformation.

According to a blog post by Dr. Garth Graham, the head of YouTube Health, the revised policy implemented by YouTube will now disallow “content that endorses cancer treatments that have been proven to be either ineffective or harmful, as well as content that dissuades viewers from seeking professional medical treatment.”

The individual stated that this encompasses material that endorses unverified interventions as substitutes for approved medical care or as definitive remedies, as well as interventions that have been explicitly identified as detrimental by health authorities. An example of such false assertion is the recommendation for patients to choose for vitamin C in lieu of radiation therapy.

The current modification represents one of several measures undertaken by YouTube in recent years to expand its policy on medical misinformation. This policy include the prohibition of incorrect assertions pertaining to vaccines and abortions, alongside content that endorses or glamorizes eating disorders.

As part of its statement, YouTube is implementing an expanded and revised approach for addressing medical misinformation. This framework will encompass content falling within three distinct categories, namely prevention, treatment, and denial.

Graham stated that in order to ascertain the compliance of a condition, treatment, or substance with our medical misinformation policies, an assessment will be conducted based on its association with a significant public health risk, the availability of guidance from global health authorities, and its susceptibility to misinformation. The individual further stated that YouTube will implement measures for content that aligns with the aforementioned criteria and “conflicts with the guidance provided by local health authorities or the World Health Organization.”

According to Graham, the policy has been formulated with the intention of safeguarding “the crucial equilibrium of eliminating highly detrimental content while simultaneously allowing room for deliberation and discourse.”

According to Graham, the revised medical misinformation framework of YouTube is applicable to cancer treatment due to the significant public health risk associated with the condition and its susceptibility to frequent dissemination of inaccurate information. This is further supported by the existence of a consistent agreement among local and worldwide health authorities regarding safe and effective cancer treatments.

Similar to numerous social media policies, the difficulty frequently lies not in the implementation, but rather in the enforcement of such policies. YouTube has announced that it will implement limitations on the dissemination of disinformation related to cancer treatment, with the measures set to take effect on Tuesday. Furthermore, the platform has indicated that enforcement efforts will be intensified in the subsequent weeks. The corporation has previously stated that it employs a combination of human and automatic moderation techniques to assess movies and their accompanying context.

YouTube intends to facilitate the promotion of cancer-related information originating from reputable sources such as the Mayo Clinic.

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