YouTube Cracks Down on Cancer Treatment Misinformation

This move is part of the company's long-term plan to fight medical misinformation.

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YouTube is no stranger to having to deal with misinformation on its platform. Now, the video-sharing site says it's stepping up enforcement of its medical misinformation policies and will begin removing false info about cancer treatments

YouTube will begin cracking down on videos that promote cancer treatments proven to be harmful or ineffective, the company said Tuesday. It will also remove content that discourages people from seeking professional medical treatment. 

The removal of this medical misinformation will start Tuesday and ramp up in the coming weeks, YouTube said. 

The crackdown is part of an effort to update and simplify YouTube's medical misinformation policies. Going forward, the company will "streamline dozens of our existing medical misinformation guidelines to fall under three categories – Prevention, Treatment, and Denial." YouTube will remove content that contradicts health authority guidance on the prevention, transmission and treatment of certain health conditions, or videos that deny the existence of specific diseases such as COVID-19. 

"Our goal is to make the rules of the road clearer and have a more transparent framework in place for evaluating whether certain diseases or conditions would be included in the future," reads a post from YouTube Vice President Matt Halprin and Global Head of Healthcare Dr. Garth Graham.

See Also: Aspartame, Diet Sodas and Cancer Risk: Making Sense of the New WHO Classification

If you come across medical misinformation on YouTube you can report the video. The platform has a "Report" button located on every video and "Misinformation" is an option available when reporting. These kinds of reports will require a timestamp and a description of what false info the video contains. 

YouTube has struggled to contain videos with medical misinformation, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last two years, YouTube broadened its ban on vaccine misinformation, while also removing videos about unsafe abortion methods.