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Sparking cries of censorship, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has announced that the platform will remove any content that contradicts the embattled Word Health Organization’s health guidance.
In an interview with CNN earlier this week, Wojcicki talked about how YouTube is policing content related to the coronavirus.
“We also talk about removing information that is problematic,” she said.
“Of course, anything that is medically unsubstantiated. So people saying, like, ‘take vitamin C,’ you know, ‘take turmeric,’ like, ‘those are — will cure you.’ Those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy.
“[A]nything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy. And so ‘remove’ is another really important part of our policy,” Wojcicki added.
Because no health authority supported that theory, Wojcicki said, discussion of it is banned from YouTube.
The WHO has been under fire from President Donald Trump and others for allegedly helping China hide the truth about the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump has frozen U.S. funding for the WHO.
Wojcicki’s comments drew howls of protest on Twitter:
#YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki says anything that goes against the W.H.O. is a violation of YouTube policies. All content that isn’t “medically substantiated,” such as advising people take Vitamin C, will be removed by the platform.
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) April 21, 2020
“Anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy”
– YouTube CEO @SusanWojcicki
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) April 22, 2020
To be so open about censorship is extraordinary.
We all hate misinformation but to allow YouTube/WHO to determine what is misinformation, is the REAL problem.
— A (@aname_1011) April 21, 2020
Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee flayed YouTube for relying on the WHO when it has had issues supplying accurate information during the coronavirus outbreak.
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“It is alarming that @YouTube now relies on the @WHO’s biased recommendations to decide what video content to take down,” she tweeted. “The @WHO gave inaccurate information about the spread of the virus, still parrots Chinese propaganda, and fought @realDonaldTrump’s China travel ban.
“If Big Tech companies plan to police speech surrounding COVID-19, they need to rely on honest and objective experts. History repeats itself and @WHO has proven to be untrustworthy promoters of Chinese propaganda.”
If Big Tech companies plan to police speech surrounding COVID-19, they need to rely on honest and objective experts.
History repeats itself and @WHO has proven to be untrustworthy promoters of Chinese propaganda.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) April 22, 2020
Also this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would consider posts calling for participation in protests against government orders to stay at home “harmful misinformation.”
A Facebook spokesperson said that events would be taken down from the platform when they violate state laws or “guidance.”
“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” the spokesperson told The Hill. “For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.”
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