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    YouTube has pulled 30,000 videos to make false claims about COVID-19 vaccines

    YouTube has pulled 30,000 videos for sharing misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, Axios reports. Details on the takedowns come six months after the company first updated its policies to address misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines. Prior to October, YouTube had more general coronavirus misinformation policies, but those didn’t specifically address vaccines. The company has taken down more than 800,000 videos for spreading coronavirus misinformation since last February, according to Axios. But as vaccine availability has increased, the issue of vaccine misinformation has become more urgent for platforms. Facebook and Twitter have also expanded their policies to combat misinformation about the vaccines in recent months. But unlike Facebook, which announced plans to curb misinformation about all vaccines, YouTube’s policies only address a specific subset of claims about the COVID-19 vaccines that contradict official guidance from the World Health Organization and other authorities. 

    Russia is using online disinformation to trash rival COVID-19 vaccines

    Russia's internet disinformation efforts extend well beyond election interference. State Department officials talking to the Wall Street Journal say Russia is running a disinformation campaign using at least four online publications and a host of social media accounts to shake confidence in COVID-19 vaccines competing with Sputnik-V. The outlets New Eastern Outlook, News Front, Oriental Review and Rebel Inside all cast unfounded doubts on vaccines like Pfizer's, falsely calling mRNA delivery a "radical experimental technology" that was dangerous and less effective. All four sites are "directly" tied to Russian agencies like the FSB security service and SVR foreign intelligence, according to one US official. Social accounts linked to those publications have mostly been pulled, although some of their non-English accounts were active as recently as early 2021.  The State Department acknowledged the conclusions in a statement to the WSJ, but didn't supply direct evidence linking the sites to the Russian government. This was a "joint interagency" finding that Russia bore "direct responsibility" for spreading falsehoods, the representative said. Russia denied the allegations in its own response, but it also has a long history of denying misinformation and hacking campaigns despite strong evidence. Russian leaders have a strong incentive to attack rival vaccines. The country is clearly hoping to boost sales of Sputnik-V, but it's also believed to be using the vaccine to exert influence worldwide. A country willing to buy these shots might be receptive to other Russian deals, for example. There's not much the US can do to shut down the sites themselves when they're foreign-owned and operated. Nonetheless, the findings could easily increase pressure on the US government and social networks to crack down on vaccine misinformation. Much like conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19, the bogus vaccine claims could be genuinely dangerous, leading people to skip life-saving shots or even attack agencies distributing and promoting vaccinations.

    Will label tweets with misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines twitter

    Twitter has introduced new rules to prevent the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines. Under the new policy, the company will label tweets with “misleading” information and ban accounts that repeatedly break the rules. Twitter had previously banned “harmful” misinformation about the vaccines, such as claims that the vaccines are harmful or unnecessary. Under the new rules, Twitter will add prominent labels to tweets with “misleading information.” There will also be stricter penalties for accounts that repeatedly share such claims. The new labels look similar to the ones Twitter used around the election. “This tweet is misleading,” it says. “Find out why health officials consider COVID-19 vaccines safe for most people.” Other users will also be prevented from retweeting the labeled tweets, though Twitter will allow quote tweets. The labels may link to Twitter Moments with "official public health information." The company is also introducing a new strike system that will allow it to punish repeat offenders. After the first strike, users will face temporary suspensions for sharing vaccine misinformation. A fifth strike will result in a permanent ban. “Through the use of the strike system, we hope to educate people on why certain content breaks our rules so they have the opportunity to further consider their behavior and their impact on the public conversation,” Twitter wrote in a blog post. Twitter is the latest platform to crack down on vaccine misinformation. Facebook recently announced that it was banning misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as claims about other vaccines more broadly. TikTok and YouTube have also introduced policies to curb the spread of false claims about the vaccines.

    YouTube is sharing more ‘authoritative’ election info with voters

    Sponsored Links YouTube YouTube already has a few election protection measures in place, like removing videos that encourage election meddling and banning claims that could mislead voters. Today, YouTube announced that it’s paying special attention to mail-in voting content and stepping up its efforts to fight misinformation with “authoritative information.” Under videos that mention voting by mail, you’ll now see an information panel that directs you to authoritative info from the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank. YouTube is also adding more information panels, which will appear when you search for 2020 presidential or federal Congressional candidates, and it has created new panels on voter registration and how to vote. Those are available in English and Spanish. Other Big Tech and social media companies are also rolling out election initiatives. Facebook is running a national ad campaign to encourage voting and is pointing people towards its Voting Information Centers on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter is making its “biggest push ever” to encourage voter registration, and Snapchat has added voting resources to boost voter turnout. In this article: youtube, election, 2020 election, misinformation, vote by mail, mail-in voting, voting, authoritative information, Bipartisan Policy Center, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 17 Shares Share Tweet Share

    Facebook's Oversight Board shall begin hearing cases prior to the US election

    Sponsored Links Erin Scott / Reuters Faceboook has confirmed that it’s Oversight Board set up to rule on moderation disputes across the company’s platforms will begin to hear cases as early as mid-October, just ahead of the November US elections (via the Financial Times). “Since the first 20 Oversight Board members were appointed back in May, we have been helping to get them up and running as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson told Engadget. “We look forward to the board beginning to hear cases in mid to late October.” The board will be made up of journalists, lawyers and activists across the political spectrum, and will rule on appeals from Facebook and Instagram users as well as questions from within the company. They’ll be aided by a new software tool “that allows members to securely access and review case information from anywhere in the world,” and will be trained on the company’s community standards and policy process. Since the first 20 Oversight Board members were appointed back in May, we have been helping to get them up and running as quickly as possible. That has included finalizing a new software tool that allows members to securely access and review case information from anywhere in the world; and training them on our Community Standards and policy development processes. We look forward to the board beginning to hear cases in mid to late October. Shortly after launching the board, Facebook announced that it wouldn’t be ready until “late fall,” leading to fears that it would arrive too late for the US elections. It appears now that it will come sooner, though with not a lot of time to spare before votes are cast on November 3rd. Plus, decisions could take as long as three months after an appeal is first heard. Facebook said it tried to speed up the process without affecting quality. “Building a process that is thorough, principled and globally effective takes time and our members have been working aggressively to launch as soon as possible,” the company said. The board includes Alan Rusbridger, former editor in chief of The Guardian, former Europe Court of Human Rights judge Andras Sajo, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former prime minister of Denmark and John Samples, the vice-president of the libertarian Cato Institute. Facebook has set aside $130 million for the board, but said that its decisions won’t necessarily set any precedents and that it can only address certain kinds of content. On top of that, Facebook has made it clear that it’s still in control of what happens on the site. In this article: Facebook, Oversight Board, US election, misinformation, community standards, policy, appeals, deleted posts, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 53 Shares Share Tweet Share

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