YouTube made a major announcement on Wednesday, September 29, that could have dire ramifications for the expression of ideas not approved by the powers that be. The company declared it was banning several high-profile anti-vaccine activists from its platform. But that isn’t all. YouTube also expanded its censorship efforts to include any opinion that bucks popular thought on vaccines. As the Biden administration attempts to compel as many Americans to take the jab as possible, it seems Big Tech has allied itself with the state in its quest to force people to take the injection.
YouTube Announces New Censorship
In a blog post, YouTube explained that it was banning the accounts of Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., prominent anti-vaccine activists who have supposedly spread “misinformation” about the COVID-19 shots. After noting that YouTube has “long removed content that promotes harmful remedies, such as saying drinking turpentine can cure diseases,” the company boasted it had already banned more than 130,000 videos for violating their COVID-19 vaccine policies. But now those restrictions tighten. The post explained:
“Specifically, content that falsely alleges that approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects, claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease, or contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines will be removed. This would include content that falsely says that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility, or that substances in vaccines can track those who receive them. Our policies not only cover specific routine immunizations like for measles or Hepatitis B, but also apply to general statements about vaccines.”
However, it does not appear that YouTube’s new policy is absolute – yet. The company explained that “personal testimonials relating to vaccine will also be allowed, so long as the video doesn’t violate other Community Guidelines.” It will also allow content creators to publish posts debating “vaccine policies, new vaccine trials, and historical vaccine successes or failures.”
The company’s expanded policy is similar to measures introduced by Facebook and Twitter. Earlier this year, Facebook announced it would take down posts with misinformation about vaccines. These include posts arguing that inoculations cause autism or that it is preferable to be infected with the coronavirus than to take the jab.
Twitter introduced a policy explaining how the company would penalize users for tweeting false information about the coronavirus and vaccines. It has a five “strikes” rule for these users, meaning that they can be permanently banned for violating the policy.
Where Is This Headed?
President Joe Biden has been trying to get the American public fully vaccinated since he took office. He has encouraged, cajoled, and shamed the hesitant to take the jab. The administration has even tried applying pressure on social media companies to step up their censorship efforts. Earlier this month, he signed an executive order forcing companies to require their employees to either be vaccinated or be subject to weekly COVID testing.
YouTube just became the latest Big Tech company to essentially partner with the government to get as many people vaccinated as possible. It is doing its part by ensuring that people are unable to view every viewpoint on the vaccine – at least on their platform.
The company’s expanded censorship might not seem like a big deal. After all, there are plenty of people legitimately spreading erroneous information on vaccines, and they might be persuading people to make unhealthy decisions, right?
Well, this might not be as harmless as it may appear. When looking at stories like this, one must consider how much further things could progress. This specific case demonstrates that YouTube and other social media outlets are willing to march in lockstep with an administration of which they approve when it comes to censoring information that would run contrary to the government’s agenda. So what other types of censorship might they be amenable to?
What happens when companies like these decide to suppress certain viewpoints on immigration? What about abortion or other highly controversial issues? Are we looking at the beginning of a form of Big Tech tyranny, a digital environment in which certain people are not allowed to voice their opinions? It is not difficult to see that this trend could potentially have dire consequences for American society and the future of political discourse.
~ Read more from Jeff Charles.