As the Roe v. Wade reversal continues to resonate, YouTube said on Thursday that it will remove videos from its platform that contain what it deems abortion misinformation.
"Starting today and ramping up over the next few weeks, we will remove content that provides instructions for unsafe abortion methods or promotes false claims about abortion safety under our medical misinformation policies," the company tweeted.
In recent months, a group of lawmakers began pushing Google — the social media platform's parent company — to crack down on search results that supposedly guide people looking for abortion services to pro-life pregnancy centers.
Following the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe, Google said that it will work to rapidly delete location history for people going to abortion clinics or other medical sites.
"Today, we're announcing that if our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit," Jen Fitzpatrick, Google's senior vice president of core systems and experiences, wrote in a blog post July 1.
YouTube also said it's rolling out an "information panel" to provide "viewers with context and information from local and global health authorities," which will be located below abortion-related videos and above relevant search results.
The company provided a screenshot example of how the contextual information will be displayed, showing the National Library of Medicine's definition of abortion.
"An abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy," the information panel read. "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."
The panel states that the context is for informational purposes only and that individuals should "consult your local medical authority for advice." A link to "learn more" is also provided.
While YouTube has taken a similar approach to other hot-button issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and elections, it is unusual for the company to announce it will remove videos entirely.
The big question is enforcement. YouTube's current policy states that "certain types of misleading or deceptive content" that could "cause real-world harm" are not allowed on the platform. Examples include contradicting local health authorities or World Health Organization guidance on certain safe medical practices; promoting harmful remedies, treatments, or substances; misattributed content; technically manipulated content; and content that suppresses census participation.
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