Skip to content
Topics
Stories

Is YouTube violating the first amendment by taking down anti-vaccine videos?

People in this story

Photo illustration by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University.

As part of a new set of policies designed to cut down on anti-vaccine content and health misinformation, YouTube is starting to ban any videos that claim commonly used vaccines approved by health authorities are ineffective or dangerous. The video sharing platform, and others, including Facebook and Twitter, had already banned misinformation related to the COVID-19 vaccines. This takes the crackdown one step further, with YouTube taking down anti-vaccine posts as well as the accounts of people who spread false information about other vaccines.

Critics and people who have propagated vaccine misinformation on the social media platform immediately decried the move as a violation of their First Amendment protection of free speech—a fundamental misunderstanding of free speech protections, says Claudia Haupt, associate professor of law and political science at Northeastern.

The First Amendment, which protects free speech in the U.S., applies to government censorship of protected speech, but not to private companies such as YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter. “But just because the First Amendment doesn’t apply here, doesn’t mean that there aren’t tricky questions” for platforms deciding which posts stay and which are taken down, Haupt says.

Continue reading at News@Northeastern.

More Stories

Interested in social justice leadership? A new program at mills college launches in the spring.

10.21.2021
Danielle Nguyen, CISÕ19 and Niousha Jafari, CISÕ19, of NU Hacks work on a laptop in ISEC on May 9, 2017.

College enrollment among men is down. What does that mean for modern dating?

10.20.2021

Fresh Truck: a mobile market bringing healthy food to communities who need it the most

10.21.21
News@Northeastern