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YouTube Just Demonetized Anti-Vax Channels (buzzfeednews.com)
161 points by minimaxir 60 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 234 comments

Smart, this should change the media narrative from their utter bollocks of handling the comments thing. YouTube may be equal parts soulless and incompetent, but their PR strategy isn’t terrible sometimes.

On the other hand, antivaxxing is one of those problems crying out to stamped into the dust. I don’t particularly care if some decides to eat lots of fruit instead of getting chemotherapy, because their cancer isn’t contagious. Immunization though, is a matter of public health, and my patience for precious fools on a mission is precisely 0 when it could hurt people I care about.

Still... why the hell is this something we let YouTube decide? The problem with antivaxxers isn’t their YouTube channels, it’s the fact that our lawmakers are too cowardly to pass some laws around the issue. YouTube shouldn’t be in a position to exert this kind of power, and this isn’t how issues should be tackled. This doesn’t solve anything, it just obscures it. A solution involves restricting access to public spaces for selfish morons who don’t get vaccinated, and yes, their children.

Edit: Sorry I just realized that my comment is on the border of being little more than a rant. Like a lot of people here I suspect that this is the intersection of two issues I care about deeply; a big tech company’s questionable, situational ethics and enormous power, and the horror of people facing debilitation or death because of pseudoscience. I’m angry, I’m frustrated, and while I know having the government intervene is fraught with danger, it seems necessary especially in cases of public health.

Exactly. I don't think that a company that is supposed to be just providing a service to publish your videos should be unilaterally deciding what they like and what they don't even if it majority opinion.

Free speech is there exactly to protect minority opinions because sometimes it happens people in minority are right.

Every major movement started as minority, by definition. Free speech protection is there to make sure we can have smart people notice a problem and then express their concern and be allowed to voice it so that if they can gather enough movement to make a change there can be a good change.

It is sad that this can sometimes lead to aberrations like anti-vac movement but it would be a horrible idea to argue this is a reason to throw free speech protection out. Instead we should demand lawmakers to grow a spine and recognize there is no basis for anti-vac movement and enough is enough. Sadly, vote counting is much more important nowadays than sound medical advice.

> just allowing you to publish your videos should be unilaterally deciding

Youtube is a not a public institution nor is it public land or space. Google can allow, or deny, whomever or whatever they want on their platform so long as their motivates for denying service are not due to regulated prejudice such as racism or sexism.

Ah, what if your phone company or internet provider decided to filter your ability to voice your opinions?

At some point a private company that allows you to post amateurish videos or 140 character messages becomes public utility used by millions and if they decide not to allow you to express your opinion your opinion becomes effectively unavailable to others.

Public utility is firmly defined, at least in the US, by the FCC. Even the Internet itself is no longer protected under such definitions, let alone your "right" to speak on a private companies website.

I would absolutely love for the top ~20 sites to all be rendered public utilities. But that would require legislation regulating these private websites as newly minted public institutions and I'm sure the operators of these cash cows would have a word or two to say about the government seizing control of their businesses, even if indirectly through regulation.

Right now, legally, Google can do whatever they want on youtube with impunity - if we want that to change, that will require state involvement, because all these sites are way too big for a crowd of nerds on a forum to influence the business models of in profound ways.

There are still some filters on what they will allow over their lines but as a carrier of communication they have been regulated by the government to allow everyone's data across (mostly). There is the option to buy a domain and host your opinions yourself, google and youtube are not preventing that from being an option (and google will even index your site and help people find it)... So theoretically this isn't an issue.

In actuality I think society has reached a point where the ability to post something to facebook or youtube is actually a specific form of expression that should be protected as a public institution. That said, spreading dangerous misinformation is not wholly protected by free speech, if you are a weatherman and advise (with malintent) commuters fleeing an incoming storm to take a highway that is known to be dangerous then your speech is not protected, the government may silence your speech and you will likely face legal repercussions for doing so.

I think freedom of speech is very important and I do acknowledge that this issue is littered with slippery slopes but, not all speech is free and there are some forms of speech that should be controlled. The problem of how to do that as a society while not impeding free speech is extremely hard and unsolved, the best current solution might be to assume all speech is free until a court rules otherwise but that is not an ideal solution.

The key here is "government may silence your speech" (or should it be "judiciary"). It is very different when it is a private company that decides this.

The correct course of action here is for our leaders to grow a spine and publicly acknowledge this is a problem.

Of course speech should be free until court rules otherwise. How otherwise you expect minority opinion to be safe from majority? It is not free speech if anybody with more power than you may shut you up.

If you were to tell a police office you were about to go into a crowded square of people rioting against a city government and announce your intention to pay one million dollars to whoever shoots the mayor first, how should that officer respond?

Should he submit a request to have the case reviewed to the DA and ask a judge to allow him to stop you from taking that option?

The courts cannot be expected to individually guide every action (although law enforcement should be cognizant of the types of speech previously ruled to be free or restricted and respect that ruling with penalties for knowingly violating that precedent).

This stuff is complicated and making blanket statements is just silly. _Most_ speech should be protected, but some speech is limited.

Soliciting a crime like that is already directly punishable and not free speech. Very bad example.

Youtube is demonetizing here, not censoring.

I guess you have no issue with Patreon and Mastercard deciding which business you can give money to either ? Not so diffirent from banks refusing to serve cannabis stores, or pornstars.

I think it's quite a jump from not showing ads on videos to blocking money transfers.

Youtube is trying to stem the outflow of advertisers who've clearly stated that they don't want to be associated with certain kinds of content.

There's an argument that perhaps Youtube should provide the ability for content creators to provide their own Ad Network integration, if Youtube is unwilling to provide that monetisation themselves.

However, creators are free to source their own advertising deals and directly incorporate those into their videos - see just about everyone advertising Audible, Squarespace, Dollar Shave Club, Brilliant, etc.

They still allow use of their platform... People can upload and view the videos. They're just disavowing "partnership" through the monetization program.

So you’re saying that government control of speech is bad, but government control of behaviour is good?

You're positing a strawman, but in the spirit of your approach: yes - if the behaviour being controlled is comparable to hooliganism, vandalism or worse.

The problem I see is what if there actually were a problem? Keep in mind I solidly believe that there is not.

But there have been many drugs with serious side effects pulled from the market some of them after regulators and drug companies behaving badly.

Is YouTube pulling them because of a sense of responsibility to open fair scientific inquiry? Or are they doing it as a PR stunt to distract from other bad behavior?

I'm sure if you lived in SW Washington with an infant you'd sing a different tune.

More than a few friends and people I know are immunocompromised, for them it is a big deal.

Then people would do a different thing. We aren't locked in forever to all decisions.

Over the last 20 years alone the measles vaccine has saved over 20 million lives, and that's just a single vaccine. And herd immunity is a critical part of the success.

All meds have side effects. Things do not work for 100% cases, but that doesn't make it invalid.

Leaving that aside, usually don't even understand why they choose to not vaccinate their child, they just believed someone that said it is bad. Look at the "flatearthers", some arguments are even funny because they are based in nothing. You can only just "believe" them.

Of course the government should do something about it. Don't forget the government is the society.

Case in point, vaccines can cause narcolepsy.


They don't cause autism, but what if we set up mandatory vaccinations with absolutely no opt-out because some parents were offensively wrong, and later a vaccination does start causing serious problems and the government doesn't move fast enough to change its rules?

We have a family friend whose young daughter developed serious issues with autistic similarities after a vaccination.

This is not necessarily a topic to be 'stamped out', and free speech has to transcend censorship, search engine companies hiding materials and discouraging the creation of those materials.

> We have a family friend whose young daughter developed serious issues with autistic similarities after a vaccination.

Isn't that because those issues usually aren't visible before around that time? (I am neither a GP nor a psycologist though so this is just trying to apply common sense.)

I demand my kids gets all recommended vaccines. Because even if there was a (vanishingly small) chance of a kid getting autism like symptoms I can live better with that risk than the much bigger risk that that being unvaccinated presents.

> This is not necessarily a topic to be 'stamped out', and free speech has to transcend censorship, search engine companies hiding materials and discouraging the creation of those materials.

Free speech is important. I would like to use mine to point out that looking at some anti-vaxxers (I'm not singling out your relatives, they might very well be reasonable people) one might get the idea that any autism in their kids might have simpler explanation than a vaccine that millions of other kids take without issue every year ;-)

Edit: that last paragraph really feels bad. My point is I mostly do defend peoples right to free speech (I might even pay close attention to people who argue against AGW as long as they are trying to be honest and have a discussion, not a sermon), but when it comes to vaccines it is actually pretty much settled science that they save millions of lives, millions of hours of suffering each year.

If anyone still wants to debate it, I might even listen carefully, but it really helps a lot if the other part treat the subject with the respect it deserves.

Sorry to everone for the comment above. It really wasn't good IMO :-/

> Isn't that because those issues usually aren't visible before around that time? (I am neither a GP nor a psycologist though so this is just trying to apply common sense.)

In some cases maybe, but it don't believe in all cases. A neighbour had this with her 7 month old baby, and symptoms showed up literary 4-5 hours after vaccination (not autistic symptoms of course, problems with breathing and similar), but at about 3-4 years you could already see some of the autistic symptoms in the kid along with speech impairment.

Not only that. Freedom has its limits. Your freedom to a decision should not trump another person's freedom to live.

By not getting a vaccine when you medically can, you're putting others at risk because of your freedom.

> Still... why the hell is this something we let YouTube decide?

The only thing YouTube has decided here is that they aren't going to take money from advertisers and give it to anti vaccine channels.

Content creators say that demonetization is not only about the profits as such videos have less exposure as well (they won't go trending, they won't be recommended if you are not subscribed, etc.)

The problem with this trend now is that people have realized the truth they want can be the truth we all have if they're willing to yell loud enough about it.

It’s always been true, but it used to require someone with resources and like minded people to start it. Now everyone is in the game, with predictably unpredictable results. Worse, with bits and content farms it’s possible to distort the perception of reality and popular opinion at the individual level. Governments enjoy unprecedented power to erode trust at home and abroad. People are understandably giving up and turning away, while,other get lost in a deep dark hole.

How do we stop this without making matters even worse? I want to say “educate people” yet that’s a pat response. Some people won’t be educated, it takes a lot of time, and how do we even agree on what a good education is? To me it’s critical thinking, STEM, and meeting other people. To others it’s teaching their kids that people like me are the agents of the devil, that fossils are a test from god or a plot by the CIA. How can that gap be bridged without someone trampling all over the rights of the other? How can people in such separate relaities not undermine each other or seek to use the system against each other, only to see it turned back on themselves?

How many times have you read a comment on a board and your first thought was, “That has to be a troll/shill/bot”? How often have you just given up on a discussion because the signal:noise ratio was intolerable? I know my answer is “too many times to count.” I worry that it means bad actors are winning, that I’ve fallen under the spell of Oh Dearism.

Many religious leaders believe that lying to people is immoral -- or at least they used to it until they made a moral judgement that abortion (e.g.) was so much worse than lying.

Ironically that's postmodernism for you.

Postmodernism does not mean "all truths are valid". Foucault was often unclear in his writing but he was clear on this.

Foucault also wasn't the only one with an opinion on postmodernism.

Wait, you mean they just barely demonetized them? As in, they've been paying them for clicks this entire time, even after all of the measles outbreaks the last few months?

Crazy... to think YouTube execs had no clue that there is a direct correlation to the media they help propagate and the outbreak of previously cured diseases!

I assume you support enforcing vagrancy laws then and removing vagrants from public spaces? Because vagrants defecating in public and leaving used drug needles and other filth lying around certainly is a matter of public health[1][2].

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/14/health/hepatitis-a-outbreak-s...

[2] https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Typhus-Epidemic-Wor...

If you look into the history of the countries with censorship, everything started by making decisions on what content should be allowed and what not.

And it’s funny because a lot of them actually started with health related concerns.

>>A solution involves restricting access to public spaces for selfish morons who don’t get vaccinated, and yes, their children.

Easier than that - you either vaccinate your kids or we take them away, period. We're ok taking kids away from parents who starve their kids or beat them or let their wounds get terribly infected. Why do we allow parents to keep children if they're not willing to vaccinate for bullshit reasons?

>Immunization though, is a matter of public health, and my patience for precious fools on a mission is precisely 0 when it could hurt people I care about.

Aren't the people you care about vaccinated?

> Aren't the people you care about vaccinated?

It is not that easy. Some people cannot be vaccinated, for example measles vaccination isn't licensed for babies younger than 6 months AFAIK. So they will still be at risk from others who could have gotten vaccinated but didn't.

That's a bit of an edge case.

A major benefit of herd immunity is to help with the edge cases - people who cannot, or should not, be vaccinated, but would be in danger from these infections should they be exposed.

Vaccines aren't 100% effective. Google herd immunity.

Vaccinations are not 100% effective, and some people cannot be vaccinated.

The threat of disease isn't news, yet the constant propaganda against anti-vaxers is. People got exposed to measles in the past and the vast majority were fine. You can only get measles once and the odds of dying of measles is akin to the annual odds of choking to death.

The threat of disease is news when we've reduced the risk of it occurring so much that a great many people have never actually seen a case of it, so effectively 0 risk has suddenly become nonzero for anyone who does not have immunity.


This is literally the worst argument I've read on Hacker News, and that is really saying something. They didn't in any way validate the claims of the anti-vaxxers. The medical community has repeatedly given the answers, these people are just too dumb, selfish, or gullible to believe them.

> these people are just too dumb, selfish, or gullible to believe them

This argument has convinced people exactly never.

It's amazing how much name calling is on this thread and how few links to research.

Want people to listen? Show them compassion.

Want people to vaccinate? Give them great information from trusted sources.

Want people to dismiss you? Call them names.

If we want to increase adoption, then please silence yourself on this subject as you're doing more harm than good.

I frankly don't care to try to convince anti-vaxxers. You can't logic someone out of a strongly held belief that they didn't logic themselves into. If someone can seriously look at the breadth and depth of information on the subject -- available with even the most cursory search on the subject -- then they're lost. I think these people are child abusers and should absolutely be shamed.

I think you'd be surprised at how not strong their opinions are when you treat them like humans instead of shaming them like child abusers.

It sounds like there's a lot of hurt and anger around this subject.

Hopefully cooler heads can prevail at some point as I think our health is more important than name calling or putting people we haven't met in big negative buckets.

I was vaccine injured and it destroyed my life. I battled physically crippling pain and brain damage for over a decade.

I arrived at this conclusion after studying biochemistry for over a decade.

You think your "cursory" search is adequate to evaluate this problem? You think you can quickly Google complex problems and completely figure them out? That's weird. You seem to be the illogical superficial one.

I used to be a professional environmental engineer. There are real logical concerns with vaccines. Hardly any one will even listen to my logic, because most people are like you, who think it's logical to ignore logical arguments because you don't like it.

Pathetic. You're full of hate based on a "cursory" Google search.

Crossing into incivility will get you banned here. Please follow the site guidelines when posting to HN.


You seem to have reading comprehension trouble: it literally validated some of their claims (about censorship rather than response), but not others (about medical facts).

That said, your comment is an excellent demonstrating of my point: it's technically incorrect, and focuses on shaming me for my opinion while lacking a substantive reply.

The idea that demonetization is equivalent to censorship needs to go away.

That idea is the same thing as believing that advertisers are obligated to show ads on your content, which is obviously wrong.

1. Demonetization absolutely is a form of censorship, you are making it more difficult to express yourself and limiting that expression to people who can afford to go to the lengths required, that means that some speech is becoming limited.

2. Google is a private company and has no obligation to support free speech on their platform.

But! Society is shifting to view recorded video as an expression of speech, and view facebook as a forum of ideas. These companies likely should be shifted to fall under carrier laws as they are a method for communication.

> recorded video as an expression of speech

Far as I can see they still have the same ability to speak to the world as they ever did. All that changed is they won't profit from spouting lies.

It's not more difficult to upload a video, it's not more difficult to view it. Their ability to express their view has not changed in the slightest. If they cannot afford an internet connection of any form (that's vanishingly few these days), well they can get a soapbox, go down to the local park, and express their view in the traditional way.

> you are making it more difficult to express yourself

First of all, I think phrasing matters here. "Making it more difficult to express yourself" makes it sound like someone is going out of their way to make it more difficult. What is actually happening is youtube deciding "not to go out of their way to make it easier".

When phrased like you said it, and you claim it is censorship, that makes it seem like youtube is obligated to pay you money for expressing your views. Do you not see how absurd that is?

Setting that aside, it's a lot easier for Sean Hannity to express his viewpoint than it is for me. My speech is much more limited than Sean Hannity's. Am I being censored? Is Fox obligated to give me a prime time TV show to express my opinion?

>is prepared to use force rather than debate the topic.

Herein lies the problem. The antivax movement is powered by the same propagandistic and diversionary tactics that powers all conspiracy. When brought to a wider audience for debate, antivax cultists use these spaces to appeal to members of the audience that can't tell the difference between pseudoscience and not.

Rather then engage in good faith with the ability to change heart, they use the debate stage to peel off supporters.

> The antivax movement is powered by the same propagandistic and diversionary tactics that powers all conspiracy.

Yes -- and their ability to recruit and sustain their movement, like all movements, owes to a serious social problem that has a great deal of associated latent stress that they give an outlet to.

Namely, medical professionals have two serious problems:

1. They don't respect and communicate with their patients, as a matter of course. Just look at the standard discourse around medical treatment -- including the standard "15 minute blowoff" appointment.

2. (This is related, in that 1 likely caused 2, but --) They've utterly failed to explain modern medicine in a way understandable to their patients, forcing people to decide if they trust the same people who, eg, over-prescribed opiates based on shoddy science, leading to a national emergency. For a lot of people the answer is "no"; for some, it's "fuck no -- are you serious?"

The anti-vaxxer movement stems from these two facts of modern medicine, as much as whatever else you're trying to attribute.

The response that it's acceptable to use force against people for refusing to just shut up and trust you silently when you've routinely betrayed their trust without taking full, public accountability is psychotic.

I don't see any factual statements in your argument, just broad generalizations about a specific medical industry on a site used by people across the world, when talking about a problem that spans the world.

At this point you're supporting pseudoscience and ranting about modern medicine in a very conspiratorial way.

I'm not sure what you want for evidence here: those two topics are common themes across a range of medical failures, across a range of areas, when you look at say, reports on why vaccination or mental health education programs fail.


1. People don't trust doctors, partly due to how doctors act.

2. Doctors don't do a good job sharing medical knowledge.

I'm open to bets by anyone who wants to bet that either doctors are widely trusted by their patients or that they do a good job sharing medical knowledge, and am open to hearing ways to scientifically measure either.

But if you're not willing to bet against those two claims, then you probably agree with my conclusion -- that those two real problems are causing upset that's being (irrationally) channeled into things like anti-vaxxer movements.


I can't find great quantified surveys, but this is a concern doctors have too --






That explains why people wouldn't trust MDs in the US where a medical license practically comes with a half million dollar loan that hangs over the doctor's head for decades and they're doing things that are bad for patients like the opiate crisis. But what about other developed countries? Do they have similar trust issues? Why do these Western Europe countries have antivac problems?

What are your thoughts on the Amish? As I understand it they don't get vaccinated, but they also don't interact much with the rest of society.

Where do you think the line should be drawn in your hypothetical government intervention?

Their right to practice their region shouldn't supersede everyone elses' rights to live a safe society.

If someone's religion said you needed to disobey red traffic lights, or shoot guns wildly into the air, we'd tell them to knock it off real quick.

Okay, I’ll bite. How would it endanger people if I weren’t vaccinated?

Well, I guess there's this one thing here...


Was that even a serious question?


Yes, it was. And those links didn't address it in the slightest. Your first link is completely unrelated, that is, of course I understand that I am far more likely to contract a disease that I am not vaccinated for, particularly if traveling. And if anything, your second link ("herd immunity") underlines my question. I'm vaccinated. Everyone I know is vaccinated. The country I live it essentially requires that people be vaccinated. So again I pose the question, how would I endanger others if I weren't?

Some people are unable to get vaccinated, due to medical complications. Those people rely on others being vaccinated so that they don't contract some disease.

How would you endanger others if you weren't? Well you could potentially contact the disease and then spread it to those others, right?

If you're asking how you would endanger someone in a society where 100% of all other people were vaccinated, well I guess you don't but that's not the world we live in.

Right, like I figured. So it is a matter of probabilities. If one lives in a country where a super majority is vaccinated, particularly if that same person does not travel, the likelihood of him both contracting such a disease, interacting with a person not vaccinated against that disease, and then that person contracting the disease is vanishingly small. That is not remotely comparable to blowing through red lights, such as you suggested in your example. So my follow up question, is then, why the vitriol? The comments here are incredibly aggressive, particularly considering the usual behavior of the community. It seems to me the average commenter here is more likely to get in a head-on collision due to daydreaming about the rust borrow checker while driving home than the scenario presented earlier is to happen.

All vaccines have primary and secondary failure rates. Primary failure occurs if you get vaccinated but you do not develop antibodies (This is rather crude description of immunological memory but let just stick with it). Secondary one occurs when you get vaccinated, you develop antibodies but once you contract the disease you still get it (e.g. you immunological memory does not kick it). Both of these are well known effects and are subject of research to develop more effective vaccines. So even in population where 100% people get vaccinated there is insignificant percentage of those who are still susceptible to given disease.

> A solution involves restricting access to public spaces for selfish morons who don’t get vaccinated, and yes, their children.

I'm certainly not an antivaxxer. I receive vaccines and will vaccinate my children.

But the government mandating people vaccinate themselves or their children in order to participate in society crosses a line for me.

It may be reasonable in specific circumstances, which I haven't fully thought through, but not by broadly restricting access to public spaces.

I beg to differ. It's way too lenient to only restrict their children to access public spaces. No, they should be tried for the attempted premediated murder of every child their children meets or simply put, a crime against humanity. Biological warfare is a war crime, you know. Hand out a few thousand year sentences, watch anti vaxx sentiment disappear.

Shouldn’t the same argument be used to persecute pro-choice advocates, women who get abortions and doctors who perform them?

This issue is much simpler if you rephrase it: replace the "pro life" label with "anti woman". As long as the child is connected to the body of the mother, we as a society decided it's more important to give mothers bodily agency than any rights of a potential human. Do not get tangled in the definition of when life begins, this issue is not biological, it's very strictly a decision the society needs to make. And while you think the decision is not clear cut, it actually is, you just need to look elsewhere where soceties made a decision on bodily agency: organ donors after death. I never heard of any place where it is mandatory to be an organ donor -- actually most places are opt in. So, apparently even your cadaver deserves bodily agency. If we consider the agency of a dead body can be more important than the life of several adult humans then how on earth can the agency of a living body be less important than someone who is not even born yet (might not survive etc)? Hypocrisy much?

Sure, and you could similarly replace "pro-vaxx" with "anti-freedom". Then it becomes a bit harder to stomach, no?

The point is, women are free to abort unborn children. They're not free to let their (born) children die (of neglect). It's not an obvious choice whether they should be free to not vaccinate their children or not.

> It's not an obvious choice whether they should be free to not vaccinate their children or not.

I mean, it really is. Not vaccinate can lead to death, not always but it massively increases the risk to the point that I consider it neglect. Just as a child left on the street may survive, it doesn't stop the path that put that child on the street being termed "neglect".

(I am pro-choice and pro-vaccine)

How can you be for bodily agency and also be in favor of forcing people to get vaccines?

Note first I disagree with allowing to opt out of your body used as an organ donor after your death.

No value is absolute. Trolley problem and all that (Judith Jarvis Thomson phrased the trolley problem as an organ transplant case it so happens). The potential destruction wrought by an unvaccinated child is deadly enough it overrides the individual bodily agency. By taking away the bodily agency of one child you are potentially saving several living, actual humans. When you take away the bodily agency of one woman, you are potentially saving the life of an unborn person at best. This doesn't compare favorably. Also, beyond bodily agency we need to weigh all effects of forcing a decision and forcing vaccinations have an extremely low chance of causing harm to the child being vaccinated whereas banning abortions have an extremely high chance of causing harm to the woman.

The chance of a child dying from a vaccine preventable disease in the United States is far lower than from a car accident. It would be absurd to suggest we charge vehicle drivers with attempted premeditated murder because there’s a risk they might kill people on the roads they’re driving on.

(Yes, I’m aware this is due to herd immunity. I’m not talking about hypothetical situations where the majority of people do not voluntarily get vaccinated)

Isn't this already a thing? Per below links, I thought most schools require vaccinations. It seems to be a minority of states that allow 'philosophical' exemptions.



Obviously, restricting access to all public spaces goes much further...but functionally, this works well enough if we just get rid of the states with philosophical exemptions.

That may be one of the specific circumstances I'd be ok with, just because children are in such close contact with each other.

> It seems to be a minority of states that allow 'philosophical' exemptions.

Antivaxx is basically a religion, isn't it? ;)

Do you believe it's a bad idea for governments to mandate that you're up to date on your vaccinations before entering their country? Should you be allowed to lie about your vaccination history because you believe it's unfair for them to force that upon you?

Is it your right to potentially threaten their population by bringing in dangerous diseases? Or does this only apply to your current government?

I have a choice to travel to other countries or not. I don't really have a choice to not live in (or not pay taxes to) the country I was born into.

No, but you do live with other people. As part of that, we all sign the social contract when we're born which stipulates how we can and cannot behave around other people.

As part of that, people that disregard vaccination are putting the lives of those around them in very real danger. Which is exactly why people believe anti-vaxxers are a problem, and why there's an increasing push to deny them the public sphere.

> people that disregard vaccination are putting the lives of those around them in very real danger.

So do people that drive...

> putting the lives of those around them in very real danger

If thousands of people were dying of vaccine-preventable diseases I may reconsider my stance, but we are currently nowhere close to justifying crossing that line.

IMHO it's a self-correcting problem. If more people do start dying of these diseases some of the holdouts will get the vaccines.

As has been mentioned in this thread before it's not a 'self-correcting problem', because the people that legitimately cannot get vaccines or suffer from other issues compromising their immune system are affected as well. And as seen with issue issues relating to conspiracy theories...they tend to just deny the outbreaks as being government-orchestrated, or say that getting the disease is actually good for you.

Anti-vaxxers threaten the lives of innocent people and acting otherwise is incredibly callous and ignorant.

How many immune system compromised individuals die of vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States each year?

Like I said, if it's thousands I might reconsider my stance. If not, sorry, but it doesn't justify the government forcing people to do things to their body.

Okay, real question: Are you being serious here?

There's a huge logical problem with your argument. The reason why so few immune-compromised individuals die of vaccine-preventable diseases is because they're protected by herd immunity due to people being vaccinated.

When the vaccination rate goes down, you see more people die from vaccine preventable diseases. Because that's what vaccines do: they prevent people from dying from vaccine-preventable diseases. Which, often, is children.

> When the vaccination rate goes down, you see more people die from vaccine preventable diseases.

To see this all we have to do is simply visualize history backwards, re-visiting the time before vaccines and medicine in general, and how people just horribly died in large numbers of diseases we don't even think of as deadly any more.

But what are the odds vaccine deniers would believe historic record, right?

The plague pandemics? Never happened; it's just a fabrication to promote vaccination.

There’s no problem with my argument. Enough people are voluntarily getting vaccines that it doesn’t justify government forcing people to, which I am philosophically opposed to unless absolutely necessary.

I’ve repeatedly said I’d be willing to reconsider if that changes.

A beloved family member you care about very much is sick. They are in the hospital receiving treatment but their body and immune system are already taxed to the limit fighting to survive. A new Nurse arrives on shift, upon initial meeting the Nurse tells you that "I don't believe in vaccination and have never been vaccinated for contagious disease." Do you want that Nurse to take care of your sick family member? Or do you tell the supervisor you want a different nurse?

Nice straw man and appeal to emotions. Health care providers are already required to be vaccinated (at least in my state). That’s a perfectly reasonable condition of employment for that profession.

I don't consider this a fallacy, if you follow the whole libertarian idea of a person should be able to claim philosophical exemptions for their children shouldn't that immutable right to exemption also apply to everyone?

In the years 1331-1351, half the population of China, and one third of that of Europe, died in the Black Death pandemic. That is preventable by a vaccine.

> forcing people to do things to their body.

Ah, but, firstly, your child's body isn't your body; that's a separate human being who has a right not to have idiot parents interfere with their survival.

Secondly, one person's immunization status affects others around them. It's not just a personal choice. Choosing not to be immunized and being around people is somewhat like smoking.

Actually, the Black Death was caused by a bacteria, not a virus. It could have been cured with antibiotics, not vaccines.

I checked my facts before posting: vaccination does exist for Yersinia pestis. Though that particular pathogen is not commonly targeted by vaccination, it is not true that vaccines are just for viruses, whereas we just let people contract bacterial diseases and then fight them with antibiotics.


"Vaccines also help prevent the development of antibiotic resistance. For example, by greatly reducing the incidence of pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, vaccine programs have greatly reduced the prevalence of infections resistant to penicillin or other first-line antibiotics."

Sourced from Nature Journal: https://web.archive.org/web/20170722121157/http://www.nature...

> I checked my facts before posting

You're right, and I've never thought about the pneumonia vaccine being against bacteria as well, even though I've taken it myself.

> a right not to have idiot parents interfere

The only reasonable default assumption is that even "idiot" parents have more interest in the survival and well-being of their own children than the vaccination industry equivalent of the Sackler family.

Who is the "vaccination industry equivalent" of the Sackler family and what's wrong with them?

Why don't you take responsibility for your own health instead of expecting others to risk their lives so you can be lazy?

I was vaccine injured. I battled crippling physical pain and brain damage for over a decade. Do I not have a right to try and survive? Or are you willing to sacrifice people like me so you can be safe with minimal effort?

Can you clarify your point? Are you implying that the alternative of pre-vaccine history (which is very clearly documented) is preferable to the miniscule and heavily studied risk of negative vaccine effects? Back when many children routinely died from diseases which cause huge suffering which don't even exist in statistically significant rates in the US now?

In medicine, we understand that there are risk calculations to every treatment and preventative decision. You weigh them against each other. When public health at large is the question, you certainly do have to consider the risks that come with public health policy.

For example, diabetics with retinopathy receive injections of medication that can help stop the condition from causing blindness. There is a 1/3000 chance that the injection can cause an infection which can lead to permanent blindness in the eye that was treated. You have to weigh the risks in this case personally when you're a diabetic with retinopathy, but imagine that the decision was instead that refusing the eye injection because of the tiny, well studied risk to yourself meant you were risking blinding someone else's child. It's not a perfect analogy but I hope it may help some understand that we aren't talking about a sacrifice in the way you seem to portray it in your questions.

Also, regarding your health issues, I am truly sorry. I also have some debilitating medical issues that have affected my daily life for almost 20 years, but when having discussions about policy or philosophy around medicine I try not to use them as an appeal to emotion because that can cloud your judgement and logic.

The reason I'm resorting to appeals of emotion is because the opposing side will only listen to emotion. They are so convinced the science is settled that you can't get a single word in to present a logical argument.

Here is Coleen Boyle, Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, testifying before congress that a double-blind placebo-controlled trial has never been done to evaluate the safety of any vaccine. This is the gold standard of clinical trials that every other drug on the market must complete before FDA approval.


You can't placebo-control because that would be highly unethical leading to sickness and death that would not have otherwise happened. You can't double blind as soon as you cant placebo control. You can't do crossover because the dead from your first trial cannot be un-dead, and those who lived now have a different baseline. This argument is exploiting the lack of specialized education in the general population to know what those terms mean.

Another issue is that physicians flat out deny that there are any risks associated with vaccines. And the one's that do admit this risk losing their license.

Yet it's widely known in the medical industry that all medical treatments carry risk, like you said.

Anyone trained in medical carries out appropriate screening to not vaccinate people with contraindications. This brings the rate of actual risk very close to zero.

The point I'm making is that it's not okay to force others to inject things they do not want in their bodies so that you don't have to make any effort for dealing with diseases. Forcibly injecting someone is violence, but it's so abstracted in our society that most do not see it that way.

I generally don't bother to argue logical points because no one will listen. But here are a couple of the big ones:

Measles is not a deadly disease for all but in the most rare of cases. Yet the claims of vaccine injuries are skyrocketing. It doesn't make sense to protect people from a non-deadly disease at the cost of giving millions lifelong debilitating illness.

There has not been one double-blind placebo controlled trial to evaluate the safety of any vaccine. All studies that have been done compare a newer vaccine to an older vaccine. Those are the kinds of studies people are referring to when they claim that there is no link between autism and vaccines. These studies only prove that the new vaccine is AS safe as the old vaccine.

The measles vaccine was introduced in 1963. Deaths from measles were already minuscule before the vaccine was even introduced.

Likewise, most diseases were well under control before the introduction of vaccines. This is due to advances in sanitation.

Of course, vaccines for polio are probably worth the risk/reward. But no one is actually talking about polio. We are talking about non-deadly diseases.

This is a decent summary with sources to these claims: http://www.jannyorganically.com/blog/2019/1/27/your-industry...

How would you suggest a placebo-controlled study (we can easily make it double blind once placebo controlled) for any disease be structured? Please tell me your study design, because an ethical study design that doesn't put lives at risk is the issue.


Personal attacks will get you banned here. Please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and post civilly and substantively, or not at all.

> Immunization though, is a matter of public health

Not necessarily. Human-to-human transmission isn't the primary vector (if even possible) for a lot of diseases we get vaccinated for, e.g. yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, lyme disease, tetanus, shingles, rabies, etc.

...Measels, Mumps, Rubella, Polio, Varicella (i.e. what you need to contract to get shingles).

We can both make lists of equal length back and forth, but we also both know that there are plenty of communicable diseases between humans. Would we be having this debate if the outbreaks weren’t measles, but Variola Major? ZEBOV?

Shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus.

Sure, but the primary transmission vector for chicken pox isn't adults with singles, it's other kids with chicken pox.

> it’s the fact that our lawmakers are too cowardly to pass some laws around the issue.

There are laws on the books in the U.S.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;"

The solution to bad speech is more speech, not less.

Free speech is not a black and white issue, there are forms of expression that are limited in the US and I think as a society we agree with those limits. Calling for the assassination of a public figure or hiring a hit man are both obviously bad speech and should not be free.

Hiring a hit man is not speech.

And yes, there are forms of speech not protected from abridgement by Congress.

I think you and I both know that talking about side effects of medical procedures is not even close to being one of them.

I'm not quite sure the point you're trying to make here, but this isn't about freedom of speech.

People should be restricted from accessing public spaces if they pose a direct and credible threat to the public. If a person is not vaccinated, they are a threat to the health of those around them. It is not an issue of speech.

The laws would be for requiring vaccinations, not for silencing anti-vaxxers.

I am pro-vaccination, but forcing anyone to anything to their body is in some ways worse than restricting their speech.

The issue here is that these are parents making decisions for their minor children, not themselves. For example it has been ruled child abuse and illegal for Christian Scientists to deny their minor children life-saving medical treatment. The other issue here is that herd immunity or lack thereof can put other people's children at risk, not everyone is a responder to vaccination.

> it has been ruled child abuse and illegal for Christian Scientists to deny their minor children life-saving medical treatment

Yes it has. If I understand you correctly, you suggest that the treatment having a 0.01% chance of being live-saving also be considered in the same way.

Ethically yes, obviously it's many orders of magnitude worse to deny your septic child antibiotics than it is to not vaccinate them but in my view it's on the same spectrum. The data we have is all epidemiological, which is inherently somewhat fuzzy, however a plethora of well-designed studies have crunched the numbers different ways and absolutely no link can be found between rates of childhood vaccination and autism. Vaccination was considered one of the massive health breakthroughs of the 20th century. We have pretty much eradicated Hepatitis B for instance while it's still rampant in many Asian countries. From a Medical standpoint there is no valid reason not to vaccinate. I'm not advocating forcible vaccination and understand why that could make this hysteria worse however as a society we should examine where this misinformation is arising and how it's being amplified.

> From a Medical standpoint there is no valid reason not to vaccinate.

Currently, that is true. But medical opinion changes constantly. Is that really the proper domain of government?

If you're saying that the standard of 'reporting' on health and science in the media at large is often conflicting and distorted into a confusing and often contradictory form there is definitely validity in that. John Oliver has a great segment called 'Scientific Studies' I'll link at the end of this post, everyone should watch this. If you are able to read the journals directly and have studied how to critically evaluate scientific studies I can guarantee that there is significantly, like thousands-fold, more consistent information. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rnq1NpHdmw

Shouldn’t the same argument be used to ban abortion?

No, because legally fetuses aren’t children.

Technically the earliest stages of pregnancy are more similar to cancer. Source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-pregnancy-hel...

Another case where The Onion got there first: https://local.theonion.com/woman-overjoyed-by-giant-uterine-... :-)

Shakes fist at The Onion I'll scoop you one day!

Thank you, this is probably one of the more calm, rational pro-vaxx comments on this thread.

What might also help is research about what % of kids don't respond to vaccines so people who choose not to vaxx can better understand their impact.

The risk is overall low, often this debate gets hijacked by debating over degree of risk, which is impossible to exactly establish based on epidemiological data. All the data we have indicates no risk to vaccination, and some risk to not vaccinating. There are also swaths of the population that are on immune-suppressing meds for a wide range of illness, older people in general, and anyone else with a compromised immune system that also rely on herd immunity.

Edit: In case you were interested in hard data on non-responder rates here is that data: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6007a1.htm

I'm pro-vaxx too, but the blowback for not wanting to go as far as forced vaccinations or debating the assertion that anti-vaxxers are child abusers is intense.

I hope we can learn from these intense political discussions that wether it's vaccinations, guns, MeToo, abortion, etc., if you skip the calm discussion of the facts and skip right to name calling, public shaming and advocating criminal prosecution, you've only succeeded in appealing to those who already agree with you.

So, what do we really want? To shame the other side or find compassion and common ground?

Unfortunately, if you look at all the anger getting upvoted, it's a very emotional discussion that probably will just alienate anyone who's on the fence or just starting to research things.

There are ways to encourage vaccination, without forcing them.

OP said "why the hell is this something we let YouTube decide?"

And YouTube's decision was to silence anti-vaxxers, not mandate vaccines.

YouTube demonetized them, they’re not silencing them. This is a hard enough conversation to have without inaccuracies.

You're right. They demonetized them. Point stands though.

May not be a popular opinion but I'll share it anyway.

I believe anti-vaxxers are nuts. I believe they are dangerous. I believe YouTube is a private company who can do what they want with their company.

So why does this leave a bad taste in my mouth? Because they have so much power and influence and they can pull the plug on what could be called a difference of opinion. Yes, it's a horrible opinion but it's still empowering one side of an equation.

Yes, Youtube may be "right" about Anti-vaxxers, but what happens when they're wrong? What happens when they decide to silence or stifle a group that's actually trying to help the good of the people? It's a complex issue to say the least.

But they haven't robbed the anti-vaxxers of their platform: they've let them keep their platform, but have decided to not give them their money. They aren't silencing the group at all. That feels like a good way to walk the line (and I'm usually the last person to compliment Google).

Comment you are responding to also said "or stifle". There's no need to wait until someone is 100% silenced to disagree with the lack of neutrality. Maybe neutrality isn't important to you, but it's ok that it's important to others.

With the way many people are making a career out of Youtube these days, they might as well have "robbed them of their platform".

While in this particular case it might be "justified", imho it still sets a very problematic precedent. Because now YouTube has pretty much ascended itself as some kind of arbiter to decide as to what constitutes as "monetizable opinions" and "unmonetizable opinions".

The potential long-term consequences coming out of this are not that difficult to imagine and quite scary.

So they can move to a different platform, if they can find somebody else willing to pay them for it. If they can't, then, so what? I doubt I could find somebody willing to pay me for expressing my opinions either.

If the line for free speech has moved from "you must be allowed to speak" to "somebody must pay you for your speech", I just don't know what to say.

The "move to a different platform" is a cop-out excuse because YouTube's dominance in the sector is so extreme that you will have difficulties finding a "different platform" with a similar reach. The closest probably being Twitch but that's a tad bit a different of an audience and comes with its own set of issues.

> If the line for free speech has moved from "you must be allowed to speak" to "somebody must pay you for your speech", I just don't know what to say.

I never said anything like that, that's just assuming bad faith on your part. I'm merely pointing out that this sets a very troublesome precedent.

Particularly in the context of how dominant these companies are: For the vast majority of people Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter ARE the Internet. Giving this position even more power, without acknowledging it even exists, is a very dangerous thing to do.

I don't need nor do I want these companies to define factual reality, just because their stance, in this case, aligns with what's sensible, does not mean that will always be the case.

Because this will already further play into this "Silicon Valley censoring conservatives" narrative that's even peddled by the US president himself [0]

Note: I'm not saying that's actually happening, I'm merely pointing out it's a thing and how this will very likely further feed this notion.

[0] http://nrb.org/news-room/articles/ft/ifw/president-trump-den...

They're not pulling the plug, you can still watch the videos, they will still be recommended as related videos if you're going down that rabbit-hole, etc.

But, YouTube has a huge problem with thoughtless monetization, there's the grotesque "for kids" videos that seem to be algorithmically generated, unscrupulous people make videos about whatever, not really caring about the content, as long as it gets views and makes them a buck.

By removing the monetization, a lot of actors will disappear, and the only people left will be the true believers who want to spread their misguided word, and that's fine. If they can't make money off of their shit, that's a good thing. They're not being censored in any way shape or form.

It's not often that a horrible opinion can lead to a budding public health crisis, but this one has. If there wasn't a budding public health crisis, I'd agree with you.

The flip side of this is that it's terrible PR for YouTube if they _do_ let it continue, at which point it turns into a "YouTube is supporting anti-vaxxers during a budding health crisis" headline.

If your kids are upto date then there will be no health crisis. The concern is everyone will start following this advice and then everyone will get sick. In the worst case evolution will wipe out this population.

In turn, anti-vaxxers are killing people whose immune system is compromised by a variety of circumstances (cancer treatment, vaccine allergies, diseases etc). It also doesn't stop the fact that viruses are not some static class. They can mutate, which makes this line of thinking especially dangerous if they start mutating to get around the original vaccine.

This is before we even talk about vaccine efficiency. In the worst case scenario, evolution means we start wiping out vast amounts of the human population because of a growth in previously preventable diseases.

I would expect videos that specifically lie and say that cigarettes aren't bad for you to be demonetized.

Even if you or your children are vaccinated you still benefit from herd immunity. Not all vaccines are effective in everyone.

There are many people who cannot receive vaccinations because they are immunocompromised. Herd immunity protects them. Anti-vaxxers threaten them. The concern is not merely that people start becoming anti-vax

The herd community is making it difficult for those who cannot receive vaccinations from attending places even schools in some area by enforcing vaccinations.

They end up doing more harm.

Children who can't be vaccinated for legitimate health reasons can get exemptions.

It doesn't work that way. No vaccine is 100% effective, and not every child is medically eligible to be vaccinated. Getting these diseases out of general circulation is important.

just FYI kids can't get the MMR vaccine until they're 12 months, and plenty of folks who are immunocompromised for any one of a number of reasons can't get the vaccine at all, but they can all get measles.

In fact measles is probably not going to be much more than a painful few days for most school-age kids but infants and folks who are immunocompromised can die from it, so if anything your "dummies deserve to die" stance is probably going to wipe out the wrong population.

It's not that complex an issue. They're one website, they only have control over the content on their platform, they can't censor the entire internet.

>What happens when they decide to silence or stifle a group that's actually trying to help the good of the people?

They're not even deleting these videos, they're demonetizing them. No one is getting silenced or stifled. Videos that probably weren't attractive to advertisers to begin with, can't get advertising revenue.

And if Youtube did "stifle" a group actually trying to do good.. their reputation would suffer and the Streisand effect would raise the visibility of that group and they would move their content elsewhere.

There's no slippery slope towards a boot stomping on our faces forever, here. Youtube's influence is not absolute and not unassailable, they're not a government, they aren't backed up by a monopoly on force, and their ability to control or censor information doesn't extend to society as a whole.

It seems to me that public health concerns are a pretty reasonable line to draw. Flat earthers are weird, but they affect no one outside of themselves (how can anyone act on living on a flat earth?).

More generally, effects that have the ability to meaningfully and physically compound among both children and adults seem pretty obvious targets. Ideas that can compound in adults are ok, because they're rational actors under the law, but for example teaching kids to teach other kids pro-anorexia propaganda is not, because it compounds to a public health problem that they never could have consented to deal with.

I've been down the flat earth rabbit hole a few times, and find it equal parts hilarious and disturbing. I'm not sure it doesn't affect anyone though.. Critical thought and actively avoiding confirmation bias are real issues and when adults present arguments [e.g. to children] that effectively abandon these objectives, well.. that might be generally bad. I'd love to have a "crazy tinfoil hat" filter I could turn on or off.

I would agree with you if this was a subjective matter. But it's not subjective in the slightest. It's not an opinion. People who are anti-vax are spreading incredibly dangerous lies and it's already starting to cause outbreaks around the world. This is a clearcut case where people are dying because of misinformation.

What happens if YouTube demonetizes channels with people smoking or vaping, because it's unhealthy, and encourages young people to take up the habit when their favorite YouTubers are doing or recommending it? It's not subjective, smoking is deadly, addictive, and it affects others in close proximity, so why should someone be able to recommend their favorite vaping accessories and be monetized?

I'm not saying YouTube made the right or wrong decision, but is it that much of a stretch to go from demonetizing anti-vax channels to smoking or alcohol channels, and if not, at what point do they stop?

Hey no, don't drag vape into this. World Health Organization estimates are at least 95% less harmful than smoking. That's harm reduction. Don't get me started on the studies that are skewed though, there are a ton of those. Like other than no-name china e-juice you won't find manufacturers purposefully adding diacetyl. Also you won't find users heating their coils to 900-degrees-F

Wherever they want to. It's their platform. If you don't like it, stop using it. This is really easy.

Its all a matter of line drawing, and where you draw that line is also an opinion. I do agree with you that Anti-Vaxxers are actively causing harm to the world, because i understand what science and facts are.

What about Flat Earthers? Again, science and fact obviously prove they are wrong but are they causing any harm by sharing their non-fact based opinion? What about religion? Christianity? Islam? Scientology? What about abortion?

I do agree with you but i also agree with the parent comment, the underlying issue is, do you trust Google to know where to draw the line?

YouTube has a tendency to demonetize videos with a conservative viewpoint too. Is that subjective enough?

Now hold on...

Are they really being demonetized being conservative? Or are they being demonetized for being racist, bigoted, transphobic, etc?

Your bias is showing... but it’s actually both.

The plug isn't pulled on them, the videos are still accessible. Are you saying that people who post on YT have a right to monetization?

I don’t see anything complex about it. In my eyes, the case is pretty clear-cut: anti-vaxxers cause demonstrable harm not just to their own children, but also to those of others. Therefore, the censorship is justified.

Is there a risk that someday in the future these tech giants will censor a “good” thing? Maybe. But those types of slippery slope arguments aren’t very convincing, in my opinion. It’s way more pragmatic to take the “we will cross that bridge when we get there” stance, rather than getting paralyzed by over-analyzing.

Censorship has shaped you and changed you in ways you will not understand.

The slippery slope concept has played out many times throughout history and the idea that history keeps repeating has as well.

Not moving in that direction is the only thing stopping the slide down.

This decision will shape future decisions and force youtube to make decisions based on popular opinion. Youtube one day will ban any videos with waterbottles or sugary drinks or something else you deem acceptable ytoday that could fall out of fashion tomorrow.

I aboslutely see your point, but is the opposite equally unsettling? Today's headline could just have well have been "YouTube makes millions in advertising promoting anti-vax views," and we'd all dutifully gather for a group hate on Youtube.

Heck, I think it was just 2 days ago that the headline was "Facebook allows ads to target people with interest in Nazis." Same idea.

It is leaving a bad taste in your mouth (IMO) because youtube and facebook have shifted positions in our society and are approaching being forms to express speech in. They should start being considered communication carriers and subjected to laws that effect other communication carriers.

That said, though, it shouldn't leave a bad taste in your mouth. A lot of us were raised to be very sensitive to the restriction of free speech but not all speech is protected. A news caster that intentionally misinforms with mal-intent in an effort to cause harm (i.e. advising people to take a highway that they are aware is dangerous to traverse while dissuading them from taking a safe route) is unprotected speech. I believe anti-vaxxers are either at, or approaching, presenting the same sort of danger to society and action is required to protect individuals.

>I believe YouTube is a private company who can do what they want with their company.

This is what it always comes down to with me. It is a free service that can change anything they want at anytime.

If there is concern they will stifle someone trying to do good or have an unpopular opinion, there are other options. They might not be as easy. They might not offer the eyeballs.

As the laws are written today, services like Youtube are free to do whatever they want in terms of what is on their site.

I understand the bad taste in your mouth, but I have learned services I do not pay for owe me nothing. It used to upset me, but I get it now.

I agree with you, but they demonetized them, they didn't ban them. If they disallowed the videos, it'd be different.

> If they disallowed the videos, it'd be different.

How so? It is a private service.

These are the video types not allowed on Youtube:


Yes, and one can have their own subjective judgments about whether they should or shouldn't disallow certain kinds of content.

My subjective judgment is that it would be wrong for YouTube to disallow/remove antivax content, despite also personally thinking antivax rhetoric is unfounded and extremely dangerous.

But everyone's going to have their own opinion about it.

Let's save the concern trolling for another day. This needed to happen.

Reminds me of the discussion of Schelling fences in this: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Kbm6QnJv9dgWsPHQP/schelling-...

Given that holocaust denial is illegal in some European countries and there are already some legal restrictions on speech (yelling fire in a crowded theater) it's possible for reasonable exceptions to exist without the entire thing collapsing.

This is probably even more true when the organization making the decision is a company and not a government.

Allowing free speach is more important than any one side of the debate. You can't defuse in a closed society.

> What happens when they decide to silence or stifle a group that's actually trying to help the good of the people?

It's amazing to me how angry people get at people who choose not to vaccinate.

Throughout history there are countless examples of medicine and medical practices that were deemed safe that turned out not to be.

And the published reaction rate for vaccines is not 0.

So, while completely rejecting conspiracy theories or vaccines as a cause of autism or ADHD, I don't think it's fair to demonize people who choose not to put something into their body that they don't fully understand or trust.

Just calling them names or stupid isn't going to help. A little more empathy and less anger might actually help adoption.

But the last time I checked aggressively guilt tripping someone into a health decision usually creates more resistance than adoption.

OK, so the major issue that I see here is that the average person doesn't have the education to make an informed health benefit/risk decision. Would every member of the population who is uncertain about stuff be willing to go through a RN-level course to make an informed decision? Because only at an RN level in medicine is there an understanding level capable of independent decision making. I would like to see free education for all, maybe we can work towards that.

The published reaction rate for vaccines is not 0, but we also have qualitative, hard studies that show the incredible benefits of eradicating preventable diseases via vaccine. Being afraid of vaccines and choosing not to vaccinate is choosing to put infants under the vaccination age, immunocompromised people, those allergic to vaccines, all in danger of diseases with often horrific consequences.

The measles is a disease preventable by vaccination which causes hearing damage in one in 10 children, which is much higher than the rate of complications from the measles vaccine.

Horror and anguish is perhaps one of the most reasonable responses to anti vaccination movement getting any sort of momentum.

I'm not debating the safety of vaccines, but I am debating the technique of horror and anguish.

When had that worked in history? I only know of it creating more conflict and more deeply entrenched positions.

Until you can understand and empathize with who you're talking to, trying to convince them off anything is going to do more harm than good.

You can't argue with incredibly irrational fear. Believe me, I've tried. Have you frequently argued with the anti-vaxx or conspiracy crowd, or are you just shouting platitudes for the sake of it?

Because in the end, no evidence you have will be enough.

Yes, many people in my community chose not to vaccinate years ago. If you listen first and treat them with respect and patience it helps a ton.

Trying to use facts against emotion never works as you mentioned. Helping work through the emotion and then introducing facts does in my experience.

ITT: People talking as if being demonetized is equivalent to being removed.

Anti-vax channels have not been deplatformed. They can still post their videos on YouTube. They just can't profit from it anymore.

ITT: people dismissing neutrality concerns and are using the specifics of the non-neutral actions to derail from the general point about objectivity.

Are platforms like YouTube meant to be neutral? I never expected it to be. I don't expect to find terrorist beheading videos on there.

I applaud YouTube for taking a restrained but decent step to help this crisis.

A question I have always wanted to hear the debates on:

Do we want corporate entities dictating/enforcing social rules OR

Do we want the elected government to be our moral compass and have corporations abide by the same / help the government enforce the same?

You can still watch the videos, the producers just aren't getting paid.

Why does it need to be an OR?

If you run a platform you should be able to exercise your view of morality on there, assuming such morality is permitted in the jurisdictions you're working with.

I have long held the belief that the "global no-regulation" Internet was a frontier mentality, and as it becomes more crowded, we will see a balkanization as places like Saudi Arabia, China, US and Europe have different rules/mores.

What this means for the digerati and the Internet's impact on freedom of information remains to be seen.

If I had to choose... corporations. If you dont like what Youtube does you can use another service. It's hard to go to another government though.

Ever heard of elections?

Uhh, given those choices, I 100% prefer corporations enforcing social norms.


How about having either stay out of moral issues?

The government can still declare vaccinations mandatory and enforce that without forbidding from campaigning against that very policy.

Youtube wouldn't have to do anything at all in that case.

I don't see the issue with demonetizing them. They are still free to post, show up in search, free to trend, etc... All YouTube is saying is that it will no longer pay them to spread dangerous misinformation.

This is one of those rare cases when I want to say "Think of the children!" because there are actual dead children.

No, your hypothetical concern of authoritarian government doesn't trump dead children, because the slippery slope can go both ways. If we are okay with a few kids dying because our freedom is so sacred, where do we stop?

Sounds silly? That's because slippery slopes are mostly silly. It's basically a glorified straw-man.

Do you use the same argument to oppose abortion?

If you are of the opinion unborn children are children, you can. Not all people subscribe to that belief.

This simple fact is why the pro-choice/life debates go nowhere. If you disagree on this basic point of fact, no amount of discussion will change your mind. If you believe fetuses (fetii?) are people, then abortion is murder. If unborn are not people, it's a medical procedure between a doctor and a patient.

When will religious anti-science channels get demonetised? Creationism is just as bad as anti-vax, except way more people believe in it.

Cool, now we need to work on Facebook. A couple of days ago I got a paid ad from an antivax group, a particularly evil one because they pretend to be medical experts: Physicians for Informed Consent. Their idea of "informed consent" is a ton of misinformation that grossly exaggerate the risks and understate the benefits of vaccines. They paid Facebook to show me the add. I reported it; Facebook says they "understand" why I didn't like it but it doesn't violate their guidelines.

How much better would the internet be if all content was demonetized? Never mind that we may not know how to make it sustainable for the moment. This incident is just starting to show how click=$ and optimizing for $ fails. We need alternative, truer motivations.

There's an interesting meta-twist here… YouTube is trying to prevent the spread of dangerous "viral ideas" that enable the spread of dangerous physical viruses. The ideas are arguably a part of this health crisis as much as the viruses are. So this is a sort of "meme vaccination" to slow the spread of those ideas.

Imagine if there were YouTube channels in the 19th century promoting the idea that surgeons washing their hands causes surgical complications. What would be the appropriate response?

Is that really equivalent? Anti-vax arguments risk convincing someone to put their children, and those around them in grave danger on the basis of fundamentally flawed arguments that can be made to sound compelling. I don't think the argument for hand washing ever met this criteria.

Why have antivaxxers host 20 second pix in their videos of kids who died of measles, mumps, chicken pox, polio, scarlet fever, whooping cough, diptheria (one inserted at random by youtube - like ads) They do it for tobacco

This is overstepping.

Yes, anti-vax is not well founded, and yes, YouTube is a private entity that can do what they want, but this tells me YouTube is willing to get involved to push an agenda.

And that gives them a lot of political power.

I disagree. I think their policy of reacting to content that is harmful and dangerous is a good idea. It's not like the are censoring them. They are still free to spout whatever nonsense they want, they just won't be monetarily compensated for putting other people's lives at risk.

If someone made a cleaning video that encouraged users to mix bleach and ammonia to make a super cleaning liquid, I don't think anyone would disagree that it's harmful and dangerous.

The worry is why a service that is designed to show people-created content should wield unlimited unilateral power to selectively decide what is going to be shown and what is not. Why a company and not a judge can decide what is not covered by freedom of speech? Can a large company just decide this because, well, it is large?

I understand anti-vac people are seriously misguided and are posing threat to others but has there been any ruling on this or Youtube just decided it doesn't like it?

I am of the opinion that this needs a transparent process so that YOUR rights are not stomped on when you are in minority. Say you we are transported back 200 years and you express an unpopular belief that black people should be made free and allowed to vote (and women too!) Who is to decide you are not allowed to even express your opinion because majority of the society thinks what you say is complete bullshit (why, who's going to do all this work?)

They haven't decided that people can't see this content though. The content that is already there is staying up, new anti-vax content can be uploaded and will (likely, i can't know for sure i suppose) be suggested if you are watching another anti-vax video. They have only demonitized the content, deciding they wont pay money for anti-vax content.

Fair point. You are correct, they were not prevented from expressing their opinion.

Youtube is not nor should be required to pay money to channels they do not want to. Saying that not paying money to channels is pushing an agenda is plain silly.

Youtube already has enormous political power and its algorithm already pushes various agendas - in this instance, a particularly harmful one. Demonetising anti-vax videos is merely course correction.

Pinterest made their search system not return any results related to vaccination as a way to combat it.


Every single company has an agenda. Every single company in America at least has enormous political power. Ultimately if we were to argue purely from a free market standpoint, this is an ideal scenario of users using their leverage to change how a company behaves, functioning as the free market is supposed to.

If you disagree with the government stepping in to control things, then the logical conclusion is the users stepping in to control things.

Fk them. People who endanger other people's lives and do it intentionally, have no place on YouTube. Thing is, if anti-vaxxers were not pushing their propaganda, I wouldn't have any issues.

Why should a private company be forced to publish opinions it disagrees with?

Why should a private company make a cake for a customer asking for the display of a message they disagree with ? Private companies are already bound to anti-discrimination provisions, this is no different. Either private company are free to do business with whoever they want (including on a gender, race, and religion basis), or they don't. You can have it either way, but not both.

Anti-vaxxers aren't a protected class. You can have it both ways, I don't understand why there's always a desire for clear-cut principles. Life is grey, and blurry principles are much more adaptable to changing circumstances.

What would you rather have them do?

I'd rather they stopped paying everyone. That would at least not show any bias.

Where do you draw the line between, say, anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, and actively advocating and planning harm of oneself and/or others?

Both sides of that particular discussion would argue the other one is doing things that are actively harmful to others.

I think one side is grossly unfounded fearmongering that's doing long-term sometimes irreparable harm to a great many people, some of whom are vulnerable and unable to decide for themselves, but they would say the same about people who encourage vaccination.

I'm just trying to convey that almost any form of filtering qualifies as pushing an agenda, and it's just how controversial we find the topic that affects whether it bothers us.

(Work for elgooG, not on anything even remotely related to Youtube, all opinions are my own, etc.)

It's not like this is their first.

And yes, companies like these have too much political power. That's something we all know. The question is how to fix that.

Hit them where it hurts, their wallet. Tweet at all their major advertisers to boycott them unless they stop demonetizing antivax channels. It’s easy!

If I remember right a YT channel needs at least 4k subscribers now as of last year change to qualify for monetization on your channel.

So I'm surprised there's channels big enough which are dedicated to this anti vax thing to be monetized in the first place.

It seems crazy to me that we expect companies to tackle this problem. If you don't vaccinate your children when there are no extenuating circumstance (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/should-not-vacc.html). Then how can this be seen as anything but neglect and child endangerment, which should be handled by child protective services.

Oh hey, they actually did something decent for once. It doesn't help much with their other recent mistakes (accidentally banning channels who used CP for Pokemon GO/Club Penguin videos, demonetising videos/channels based on comment content, outright telling a large channel they were disabling comments on their videos at random, etc), but this anti vaccination conspiracy stuff shouldn't really be a thing in 2019.

Then again, this is probably the one place in which my views on free speech would come into conflict, since while I do feel people should be allowed to say/write what they want for the most part, anti vax stuff is both scientifically/factually wrong, dangerous to society and dubious all round.

Should have just blocked these accounts on sight.

Good for them. This is a necessary Public Health intervention. Bioethicists will look back on this and agree that it was necessary.

Can't say I noticed many ads of any kind (either pro or anti) on YouTube in the past 2-3 years.

I demonetized all of YouTube a long time ago.

Whatever ads do play or recommended continent appears, I distrust them and never click on it because as other comment said, they have an agenda. ZeroCredTube.

Notice that antivax side doesn't have a "product" to sell while provax does. Guess which one makes more money for The Evil Boys

> Notice that antivax side doesn't have a "product" to sell

That's simply not true; the channels they demonetized like iHealthTube and LarryCook333 do sell products (both their own and others') - usually "naturopathic" books, treatments, etc. Some of these can be quite expensive.

I'm actually OK with that. Those people are endangering themselves and the ones that can't get vaccines because of several medical conditions.

Wow this thread has the most heated arguments I've seen on this site.

My feeling is that since this is HackerNews, instead of arguing about censorship of idiots... let's instead build a startup to solve this.

It seems anti-vaxxers main concern is that vaccines are unsafe due to preservatives. Why doesn't someone make a startup that has "freshly killed virus" that charges $10k per vaccine? Do you know how much money you could make from celebrities advocating these preservative-free vaccines? People would sell their homes just to get these "safe" vaccines from the startup.

It's a win-win-win solution... someone gets rich, the idiots do whatever it takes to get vaccinated or they get put in jail (let's jail them for child-abuse if they don't vaccinate), and we still have herd-immunity in society. So common HN, someone has to have the capital to get this started. Let's solve this.

This is definitely a free speech/democracy issue. Why nobody discusses the facts instead:

- no vaccine was/is ever tested against inert placebo in clinical trial. How the hell can we let manufacturers get away with this?

- majority of (media) cited epidemiological studies around safety are just (very) bad

- so as a result we have here following situation: people claiming to be injured (also killed) by untested and massively deployed product (that also saves lives, yes) and we have no data to calculate the benefit/risk ratio. Instead we just vilify them.

I can understand how/why (majority of) scientific community maintains the old reductionist paradigm. But how this can stay out of scope of investigative media is beyond me. (edit: formatting/grammar)

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