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Politics YouTube takes down videos from Brazilian president's channel, citing coronavirus misinformation

11:48  22 july  2021
11:48  22 july  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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YouTube on Wednesday removed videos from Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro' s channel , citing its policy against spreading coronavirus misinformation , Reuters reported. YouTube said that it made the move without regard to the president ’ s politics, and said that “after careful review” it decided to take down some of the videos According to AFP, the Brazilian president suggested in December that the Pfizer vaccine could turn someone into a crocodile and has referred to the coronavirus as “a little flu.” "In the Pfizer contract it's very clear: 'we're not responsible for any side effects.'

YouTube said on Wednesday it had removed videos from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro' s channel for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the latest tech giant to pull his pandemic pronouncements. Bolsonaro' s YouTube channel plays host to his weekly national addresses, which are folksy, musical events in which he invites on ministers, takes questions from viewers and blasts his enemies. During the chats, which also go out on his Facebook page, he regularly expounds on his doubts about the severity of the virus, the foolishness of stay-at-home

YouTube on Wednesday removed videos from Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro's channel, citing its policy against spreading coronavirus misinformation, Reuters reported.

Jair Bolsonaro wearing a suit and tie: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro © Getty Images Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

YouTube said that it made the move without regard to the president's politics, and said that "after careful review" it decided to take down some of the videos, Reuters reported.

"Our rules do not allow content that states that hydroxychloroquine and/or ivermectin are effective in treating or preventing COVID-19, that states there is a cure for the disease, or says that masks do not work to prevent the spread of the virus," it said in a statement, according to Reuters.

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The Brazilian president has consistently downplayed the threat of the coronavirus , telling the nation it is "just a little flu or the sniffles," and consistently going out in public. Bolsonaro' s communications aide tested positive for the coronavirus earlier in March, and the president has claimed he tested The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hydroxychloroquine has not yet been proven to be an effective treatment for coronavirus . Facebook confirmed to Business Insider that it had removed the video . "We remove content on Facebook and Instagram that violates our Community Standards

YouTube has pledged to delete misleading claims about coronavirus vaccines as part of a fresh effort to tackle Covid-19 misinformation . It said any videos that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities, such as the NHS or World Health Organization, will be removed. As the possibility of a coronavirus vaccine edges closer, disinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding it increasingly circulate on social media. That includes everything from false claims that a vaccine is a tool for mass genocide to baseless conspiracy theories about Bill Gates micro-chipping the world population.

Bolsonaro's office did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment.


Video: Vaccine misinformation widespread on social media (NBC News)

Bolsonaro, who is being investigated for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been fined several times for failing to wear a mask and has made bizarre comments regarding vaccines and the pandemic.

According to AFP, the Brazilian president suggested in December that the Pfizer vaccine could turn someone into a crocodile and has referred to the coronavirus as "a little flu."

"In the Pfizer contract it's very clear: 'we're not responsible for any side effects.' If you turn into a crocodile, it's your problem," Bolsonaro said in December, according to AFP.

He also claimed that Brazilians could "jump into sewage" and not catch anything, according to The Guardian.

Reuters notes that YouTube's decision follows ones taken by Facebook and Twitter last year in which they also removed content after Bolsonaro made statements that were at odds with medical advice being given by health experts.

The Hill has reached out to YouTube for comment.

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