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YouTube promises to remove abortion misinformation from the site

YouTube announced on Twitter today that it will be removing content that includes instructions for unsafe abortion methods or false claims about abortion safety.

Claims will be evaluated against the company's existing misinformation policy, which prohibits content that is manipulated or misattributed, promotes "dangerous remedies, cures, or substances" or "contradict[s] expert consensus on certain safe medical practices."

SEE ALSO:How to help abortion funds and reproductive justice networks

"Like all of our policies on health/medical topics, we rely on published guidance from health authorities," YouTube said in a tweet. "We prioritize connecting people to content from authoritative sources on health topics, and we continuously review our policies & products as real world events unfold."

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In an effort to provide users with access to authoritative sources, the platform will also begin displaying information panels under certain videos or search results related to abortion. These panels, which it has also implemented for topics like COVID-19, provide context and information from local and global health authorities.

YouTube was criticized for its handling of abortion-related content as recently as April 2022, when a nearly 40-minute video framed as an investigative documentary from major creators the LaBrant Family compared abortion to the horrors of the Holocaust. The video, which was made in collaboration with anti-abortion group Live Action and included interviews with only pro-life doctors and women, was criticized for its one-sided portrayal of the issue to the family's more than 13.1 million subscribers.

Though YouTube demonetized the video, it is still available to watch on the site and, with 4.3 million views, is the platform's 15th most-watched video about abortion according to a YouTube search conducted today. Currently, an information panel underneath it citing the National Library of Medicine reads, "An abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy. It uses medicine or surgery to remove the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus. The procedure is done by a licensed healthcare professional."

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told Fortunein June that her personal views on abortion were that "women should have a choice when they become a mother... reproductive rights are human rights.” But when it comes to YouTube and "running a company that really focuses on free speech, we want to make sure that we’re enabling a broad set of opinions, that everyone has a right to express their point of view provided they meet our community guidelines.”

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