YouTube has removed more than half a million videos spreading Covid-19 misinformation

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YouTube has removed more than half a million videos spreading misinformation about Covid-19, it has said.

Technology platforms from YouTube to Facebook have struggled with keeping public health misinformation in check as the pandemic has spread across the world. False information posted on the site includes information suggesting the virus is not real to discouraging vaccines that can prevent disease.

YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki that such videos have been posted in vast numbers the site, even as it looks to stop their spread.

“We’ve continued to make updates to our Covid-19 policies to stay current with the science, and we’ve removed more than half a million videos under these policies since February,” she said.

“Now our focus has turned toward the possibilities ahead with vaccination.”

In October, the video-sharing site expanded its Covid-19 medical misinformation policy to ban content about vaccines that contradicts what is said by official health authorities, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO).

YouTube has seen overall usage jump during the pandemic, as many look for information and entertainment during lockdowns.

During the first quarter of last year, YouTube said it experienced a 25% increase in watch-time around the world.

In the first half of the year, total daily livestreams also increased by 45%.

“The pandemic has accelerated our digital lives,” Ms Wojcicki said.

“We’re always working to strike the right balance between openness and responsibility as we meet the guidelines set by governments around the world.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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