YouTube Bans Vaccine Misinformation
In a new attempt to stem the flow of anti-vaccine misinformation, YouTube said Wednesday that it won’t allow videos that claim vaccines approved by health authorities are dangerous or don’t work. The platform is also banning prominent anti-vaccine accounts, including Joseph Mercola’s channel and the Robert F. Kennedy Jr.-linked Children’s Defense Fund.
YouTube pulled ads from anti-vaccination content in 2019, and said in October 2020 that it would remove videos that pushed misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines. The new policy expands to block misinformation around other vaccines, including the flu shot, the HPV vaccine, and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Videos that inaccurately claim that the MMR vaccine causes autism or that the flu shot causes infertility, for example, will not be allowed under the new policy.
Vatican Orders All Employees to Get Vaccine or Submit to Testing
Why it matters: Pope Francis, who was vaccinated in January, has campaigned for people to get the shots, calling it a moral duty. Some Catholics, however, have argued for exemptions on religious grounds.
Employees without proper documentation will be considered “unjustly absent” and receive no salary, per the Post. The Vatican is not allowing exemptions at the moment, though the Secretariat of State and the city-state’s health department will review the issue.
As Deadlines Approach, Thousands of L.A. School Employees, Students Remain Unvaccinated
High-stakes COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadlines are fast approaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District and employees who refuse the inoculations face losing their jobs while unvaccinated students would ultimately be forced off campus into an online program.
While the vast majority of students and teachers are expected to comply — and possibly even feel reassured by the mandate — large numbers in the nation’s second-largest school district have so far resisted the requirement. Currently, about 1 in 5 district employees, about 12,000 workers, have not begun their immunization, according to information provided at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. A loss of that magnitude would add more disruption to school operations, especially as the district is struggling to fill more than 2,000 vacancies.
Ford Asks U.S. Salaried Employees to Disclose COVID Vaccination Status
Ford said salaried employees were required to submit their vaccination status against COVID-19 by Oct. 8 but the process was voluntary for its hourly employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.
Employer Vaccine Mandates Convert Some Workers, but Not All
Businesses that have announced vaccine mandates say some workers who had been on the fence have since gotten inoculated against COVID-19. But many holdouts remain — a likely sign of what is to come once a federal mandate goes into effect.
Even before President Joe Biden’s Sept. 9 announcement that companies with more than 100 workers would have to require vaccinations, dozens of companies, including Amtrak, Microsoft, United Airlines and Disney issued ultimatums to most workers. And smaller companies in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans have been required to implement mandates for customers and workers.
Some mandates seem to have converted hesitant workers, but employers are still dealing with holdouts. United said late Tuesday it will begin terminating 593 employees over the next few days for refusing to get vaccinated. Other companies are offering alternatives, including weekly testing or working remotely or away from other staff.
Factbox: COVID and the U.S. Courts: Challenges to Vaccine Requirements
Workers who fear losing their jobs for refusing the shots are turning to the courts. The following are some of the key cases.
Mask and Vaccine Mandates Have Left Us Divided, but Everyone Can Agree on Helping the Kids
When it comes to vaccine mandates, public discussions can quickly turn to heated arguments, leaving no hope of finding common ground. But an online petition to rescind a vaccine mandate for teachers, followed by a rebuttal from a parent, provided an exchange that strangely made common ground seem possible.
The petition was posted on the website Change.org two weeks ago by Freedom2Choose, a group that says it includes “a substantial number” of Montgomery County Public Schools teachers and staff who oppose the mandate. Nearly 500 people had signed the petition as of Tuesday afternoon.
It listed six reasons for calling the county’s teacher vaccine mandate unjustified.
These High School Students Are Fighting for Ethical AI
It’s been a busy year for Encode Justice, an international group of grassroots activists pushing for ethical uses of artificial intelligence. There have been legislators to lobby, online seminars to hold, and meetings to attend, all in hopes of educating others about the harms of facial-recognition technology.
It would be a lot for any activist group to fit into the workday; most of the team behind Encode Justice have had to cram it all in around high school.
It may be the only youth activist group focused squarely on pointing out the dangers — both real and potential — of AI-based applications such as facial-recognition software and deepfakes. “We’re fighting for a future in which technology can be used to uplift, and not to oppress,” Revanur told CNN Business.
As Privacy Issues Worsen, Congress Looks to the FTC
On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee plans to discuss the creation of a new privacy bureau at the FTC and “the need for a comprehensive federal privacy law.” It’s an uncomfortable dodge since Congress has thus far been unable to pass any such privacy law. But with states enacting their own privacy framework, there’s more pressure than ever for some part of the federal government to take action.
Russia Threatens to Block YouTube as Confrontation With Google Escalates
Russia’s state censor has threatened to block YouTube in the country in retaliation for the Google-owned video platform deleting two German-language channels belonging to the Kremlin-funded broadcaster RT for allegedly publishing misinformation around COVID-19.
The Russian censor, Roskomnadzor, sent a letter to Google warning that if it did not swiftly restore the two RT YouTube channels, then it faced a complete or partial block, according to Russian state news agencies that published parts of the letter Wednesday.