Alexandria, VA—A new campaign launched by the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) aims to gather one million signatures petitioning YouTube and its owner, Alphabet Inc., to change the medical misinformation policy it implemented in August 2023 (three months after WHO declared an end to the COVID-19 pandemic). YouTube states that the company does not allow content that "poses a serious risk of egregious harm by spreading medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ (LHAs) or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidance about specific health conditions and substances. This policy includes the following categories:

  • Prevention misinformation 
  • Treatment misinformation 
  • Denial misinformation"

ANH Executive Director Rob Verkerk, Ph.D., explained the trade group's position: “YouTube’s policy means any health information that isn’t approved by these local or intergovernmental authorities is treated as misinformation. This is madness given these authorities have limited expertise in so many areas of health, including nutritional and lifestyle-based approaches.”

In a press release announcing the campaign, ANH wrote: "In America, still widely regarded as the bastion of free speech, the right to express opinions without government restraint is protected under the First Amendment. While court documents have revealed significant government-influenced censorship on private tech platforms, online platforms like YouTube, as private companies, apply their own 'community rules' to which content owners are forced to comply or face sanctions."

The ANH campaign has two main goals:

  1. To join a wide range of pro-freedom and natural health interests in the U.S. and around the world. ANH and its strategic partners plan to deliver the petition, supported by over a million people, to the Alphabet offices, calling on YouTube to modify how it interprets, prioritizes, and censors so-called ‘medical misinformation.’
  2. To influence other private tech platforms that host health information to use transparent and appropriate content prioritization and moderation approaches that operate in the public interest and do not unnecessarily limit free speech.

Shadowbanning on the rise?

Shadowbanning, also called stealth banning, is described as the practice of blocking or partially blocking a user or a user's content online without notification. ANH reports that, in the post-pandemic era, complete de-platforming has become less common, but "more subtle and non-transparent techniques, such as ‘shadowbanning’ that de-prioritizes specific, ‘less-preferred’ content, are rife, and are often unrecognized by the public."

Dr. Verkerk explained, “After YouTube changed its policy last year, we saw huge drops in viewer numbers on channels run by top experts in areas like intermittent fasting and keto diets. What’s more, YouTube searches on these subjects were replaced by content from nonexperts who made it their business to bash these non-drug approaches for dealing with very common metabolic issues like obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

ANH contends that YouTube’s medical misinformation policy "is controlled by complex and non-transparent algorithms managed by artificial intelligence" and that it "will work against public health and the public interest" because it "distorts perspectives on health and wellbeing and creates echo chambers that further polarize society."

Learn more and sign the campaign petition at

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