YouTube has said it will be removing videos that give “instructions for unsafe abortion methods” or content that “promotes false claims about abortion safety”.
The company made the announcement in a series of tweets, saying such content would violate its medical misinformation policies.
“Like all of our policies on health/medical topics, we rely on published guidance from health authorities. We prioritize connecting people to content from authoritative sources on health topics, and we continuously review our policies & products as real world events unfold,” the company stated.
“We’re also launching an information panel that provides viewers with context and information from local and global health authorities under abortion-related videos and above relevant search results.”
The news comes after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. However, Justice Samuel Alito and the other members of the court gave states power to legislate abortions at a state level.
Previously, women had total autonomy to terminate a pregnancy during the first trimester, and allowed some state influence over abortions in the second and third trimesters.
Privacy critics have raised concerns over the amount of data law enforcement would be able to access in the wake of this new legislation. In response, Google said it would automatically delete users’ location history when they visit abortion centres.
Sensitive areas, such as abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, and cosmetic surgery clinics will be erased from users’ location histories. Users have always had the option to edit their location histories on their own, but Google will proactively do it for them as an added level of protection.
“We’re committed to delivering robust privacy protections for people who use our products, and we will continue to look for new ways to strengthen and improve these protections," Jen Fitzpatrick, a Google senior vice president, wrote in the blog post.