How YouTube Is Dealing With Misleading Coronavirus Videos?

Chief Product Officer at YouTube, Neal Mohan said thousands of videos related to COVID-19 has been removed from YouTube that violated the policies of the platform by spreading medical misinformation. The removed content includes some videos from the channel of the Brazilian president.

Lately many of the leading digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google were largely criticized for allowing the spread of misinformation and now these platforms are also working to take strict actions against the coronavirus misinformation.

Mr. Mohan, revealed in an interview that a twofold approach is being taken by YouTube; information from authorities is made more prominent and the misleading content that is against the policies of the platform is removed immediately.

Videos of news agencies and health officials are prioritized on YouTube. On its homage, an information panel is shown which is linked to the websites of the national health agencies. It is for the first time that YouTube is linking to textual sites instead of the usual video links.

According to Mohan, the panel has been viewed around 9 billion times till now. It has also been working with creators like the ones who interviewed Anthony Fauci, the US’s infectious disease prevention chief.

YouTube is strictly following its policies regarding medical misinformation and actively removing the videos that might be promoting false cure or discouraging people to visit the doctor. None of the videos should have content that might be against the recommendations of the national health authorities.

Following these rules, YouTube removed the video of the Brazilian President who discouraged the social distancing and other precautionary measures. Likewise, thousands of such videos have been removed from the platform so far.


YouTube policies are more concerned about the content of the video instead of the content creator. It is the reason that it does not discriminate whether journalists, politicians or entertainers, who are saying what, they all are treated the same depending upon their content.

Mohan was specifically asked how YouTube would treat a video that suggests a medicine for coronavirus treatment but the medicine is not yet approved by the FDA. In response to this, he said the platform is not a medical expert itself, and it would be challenging to respond to such videos.

He also admitted that though they have other product changes to look into but the global pandemic is taking much of their attention. Once the current challenge is dealt with, he would be able to get back to his to-do list which is pending right now.


Photo: James Martin/CNET.

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