The Russian government has threatened to block YouTube and take “other retaliatory measures” unless it reinstates two German-language channels of the state broadcaster RT which have fallen foul of YouTube’s expanded misinformation policies around vaccines
On Wednesday, YouTube deleted the two channels for violating Covid-19 misinformation guidelines prompting the Russian foreign ministry to call YouTube’s action an ‘unprecedented act of media aggression’
YouTube has stated that it would now block all anti-vaccine posts that contradict health authorities’ medical information about vaccines such as claims that flu shots causes infertility or the MMR vaccine can cause autism.
Posts that contain misinformation on the substances in vaccines will also be blocked as part of the updated policy.
The BBC reported that, RT’s YouTube channel RT DE had already received a warning from the platform for violating Covid-19 misinformation guidelines and was also issued a one week suspension from uploading content on the platform RT DE proceeded to use a second channel – Der Fehlende Part – to post videos that also violated YouTube policies. As a result, YouTube deleted both channels on Wednesday.
RT’s channels have been accused by German authorities of ‘manipulative’ reporting on anti-lockdown protests, and spreading divisive content ahead of last week’s election.
This article orginally appeared in Computing 30th September, 2021