A blog post on Wednesday said YouTube would block all anti-vaccine content, moving beyond a ban on misinformation about COVID vaccines, including false information about other approved vaccines.
Examples of content that is not allowed on YouTube include claims that the flu vaccine causes infertility and that the MMR shot, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, can cause autism, according to YouTube policies.
A YouTube spokesperson said the Alphabet-owned online video company is also banning channels linked to several prominent anti-vaccine activists, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola.
A press email for Mercola’s website said in a statement: “We are united around the world, we will not live in fear, we will stand together and restore our freedom.”
Kennedy said in a statement: “There is no instance in history when censorship and secrecy have outpaced democracy or public health.”
The move comes as criticism from YouTube and other tech giants like Facebook and Twitter for not doing enough to stop the spread of false health information on their sites.
But even though YouTube takes a tough stance on misinformation, it faces a worldwide backlash. On Tuesday, Russian state-backed broadcaster RT’s German-language channels were removed from YouTube after the company said the channels violated its COVID-19 misinformation policy.
Russia on Wednesday called the move “unprecedented information aggression” and threatened to block YouTube.