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YouTube bans coronavirus vaccine misinformation

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youtube bans coronavirus vaccine misinformation

YouTube has buckled to growing pressure to clamp down further on misinformation on the video-sharing platform pertaining to the coronavirus. 

In an announcement today the Google-owned site said content that ‘promotes misinformation’ about COVID-19 vaccines will be removed. 

YouTube defines misinformation in this instance as anything which contradicts  guidance from local health authorities or the World Health Organization.

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In an announcement today the Google-owned site states content that promotes misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines will be removed (file photo)

In an announcement today the Google-owned site states content that promotes misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines will be removed (file photo)

In an announcement today the Google-owned site states content that promotes misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines will be removed (file photo) 

YouTube said in a blog post that this would include removing claims the vaccine will kill people or cause infertility.

It will also combat wild conspiracy theories that the vaccine will be used to implant microchips in people. 

The ban ramps up the company’s efforts to quash swirling rumours based on fallacy. It will continue to take down ‘medical unsubstantiated’ claims about the virus.    

A YouTube spokesman told Reuters that general discussions in videos about ‘broad concerns’ over the vaccine would remain on the platform.

Conspiracy theories and misinformation about the new coronavirus vaccines have proliferated on social media during the pandemic, including through anti-vaccine personalities on YouTube and through viral videos shared across multiple platforms.

Although drugmakers and researchers are working on various treatments, vaccines are at the heart of the long-term fight to stop the new coronavirus.

The ban ramps up the company's efforts to quash swirling rumours based on fallacy. It will continue to take down 'medical unsubstantiated' claims about the virus (file photo)

The ban ramps up the company's efforts to quash swirling rumours based on fallacy. It will continue to take down 'medical unsubstantiated' claims about the virus (file photo)

The ban ramps up the company’s efforts to quash swirling rumours based on fallacy. It will continue to take down ‘medical unsubstantiated’ claims about the virus (file photo)

The coronavirus causing Covid-19 has killed more than a million people worldwide, infected more than 38 million and crippled the global economy.

YouTube says it already removes content that disputes the existence or transmission of COVID-19, promotes medically unsubstantiated methods of treatment, discourages people from seeking medical care or explicitly disputes health authorities’ guidance on self-isolation or social distancing.

In its blog post, YouTube said it had removed over 200,000 videos related to dangerous or misleading COVID-19 information since early February.

Online game launched to teach people to spot fake Covid-19 news on social media 

A ‘social media’ style game designed to help people spot fake news and misinformation during the coronavirus pandemic has been launched.

Researchers from Cambridge University worked in partnership with the UK government to develop the multiplatform game called ‘Go Viral!’

The browser-based game puts players in the shoes of a purveyor of fake pandemic news and the aim is to build your notoriety amongst other peddlers of piffle. 

Developers say it gives people a taste of some of the techniques used to spread fake news so they can better spot – and disregard – such information in future. 

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The company also said it was limiting the spread of COVID-19 related misinformation on the site, including certain borderline videos about COVID-19 vaccines. 

A spokesman declined to provide examples of such borderline content.

YouTube said it would be announcing more steps in the coming weeks to emphasise authoritative information about COVID-19 vaccines on the site.

It is the latest move of many by various ‘Big Tech’ companies to stamp out misinformation which spreads like wildfire on social media. 

Platforms such a Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube act as an amplifier for plainly untrue allegations, gathering support. 

Campaigners have long tried to get the companies to take action to prevent this, in the interest of public safety. 

However, defining what does and does not violate the guidelines, enforcing it and monitoring it has proved difficult.  

Last month, YouTube started displaying fact-check information panels to users in the UK, in an attempt to stop the spread of misinformation on the video platform.

UK users will start seeing the independent, fact-checked information from third-party organisations on the Google-owned platform from Thursday.

Panels will appear above search results, offering ‘more context’ and links to reputable sources of information relating to whatever users are searching for.

This could include subjects that have recently been mired by damaging conspiracy theories, such as 5G, vaccinations and the current coronavirus pandemic. 

Panels will include fact checks from trusted organisations such as BBC Reality Check, Full Fact, Ferret Fact Service and FactCheckNI. 

WHAT ARE TECH COMPANIES DOING ABOUT COVID-19?  

Facebook

The social network is giving the World Health Organisation as many free ads as it needs in a bid to get accurate health information to users of the platform as clearly as possible. 

It also launched the ‘Coronavirus Information Centre’ – a dedicated webpage with COVID-19 resources and advice. 

This is being promoted at the top of users’ News Feeds, directing them to the latest updates and guidance from the NHS and WHO.  

Facebook is also making its Workplace platform available to governments and emergency services for free in a bid to help those dealing with the coronavirus.

All government organisations globally, at a national or local level, are eligible to claim 12 months of free access to the premium tier of Workplace.  

Twitter

Twitter also recently resolved to delete tweets from its site that promote conspiracy theories, misleading or dangerous advice and other harmful ideas relating to coronavirus. 

Tweets that deny ‘established scientific facts’ and expert guidance regarding the virus will be marked as harmful and removed, the site said in a blog post

It gave examples of inaccurate tweets that would be deleted swiftly, including ‘people with dark skin are immune to COVID-19 due to melanin production’, ‘use aromatherapy and essential oils to prevent COVID-19’ and ‘the news about washing your hands is propaganda for soap companies, stop washing your hands!’.  

Google

Google also teamed up with WHO to launch an SOS Alert dedicated to the coronavirus, which appears at the top of search results when users type ‘coronavirus’. 

The search engine is prioritising information on the virus from the WHO, including official WHO updates on the spread of the virus and how to stay safe.   

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Coronavirus UK: Fears of London gridlock before second lockdown

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coronavirus uk fears of london gridlock before second lockdown

Britons are plotting to head away from cities to rural areas during a second UK lockdown days after Paris saw huge traffic jams as people left city.

The Mail revealed last night that Boris Johnson is expected to announce a second nationwide lockdown next week.

Social media users reacted quickly to say they would flee London and other cities for the countryside before the new restrictions are put in place.

Piers Corbyn and a small number of anti-lockdown protesters were also on the streets of London last night.  

It comes as the roads out of Paris were jammed on Thursday after France‘s second lockdown was ordered yesterday.

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Britons have claimed they will head away to rural areas for the second UK lockdown days after Paris saw huge traffic jams as people left city

Britons have claimed they will head away to rural areas for the second UK lockdown days after Paris saw huge traffic jams as people left city

Britons have claimed they will head away to rural areas for the second UK lockdown days after Paris saw huge traffic jams as people left city

Social media users in the UK indicated they would act in the same way to the country’s impending lockdown.

One wrote: ‘So we got until Wednesday for Lockdown 2 rumour has it. 

‘Right the plan is: get a 24 hour covid test tomorrow, if you’re negative we takeover a great big mansion in the countryside for a month and put on shows and make movies and hangout in a giant bubble. Who’s in?’

Another said: ‘I can see a lockdown coming to London soon ….leave London now…it’s going to get horrible!!!’

One said: ‘We staying at grandmas house cus no way I’m gonna be in London in lockdown again.’

Piers Corbyn was on the streetsof London last night with a small number of anti-lockdown protesters

Piers Corbyn was on the streetsof London last night with a small number of anti-lockdown protesters

Piers Corbyn was on the streetsof London last night with a small number of anti-lockdown protesters

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Scientists from the Sage committee yesterday presented No 10 with bleak figures showing that Covid is spreading ‘significantly’ faster than even their original ‘worst-case scenario’ prediction.

Last night a Cabinet source told the Mail that the dramatic move will be announced next week. 

It was not clear exactly what form the new lockdown would take, or what would be ordered to close or how long it would last.

The Government now faces a critical weekend to determine the shape of the measures before an announcement.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are said to have agonised over the decision because of fears it would leave the economy in tatters. 

But the scientists – backed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and senior minister Michael Gove – told them the virus was on track to kill 85,000 this winter, and that it was too late for a so-called ‘circuit break’.

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron's new national shutdown

Tens of thousands of Parisians last night caused massive traffic jams in a desperate attempt to flee the French capital ahead of the start of Emmanuel Macron’s new national shutdown 

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

View of traffic jams in Paris as traffic records have been broken in Paris ahead of the new shutdown coming into force

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

Parisians flocked to the Gare de Lyon to avoid confining themselves to the French capital during the shutdown

It comes as Parisians fleeing for the countryside jammed the roads on Thursday ahead of France’s lockdown to slow the spread of the resurgent coronavirus.

There was only a sprinkling of people hurrying along city sidewalks Friday as the nationwide restrictions went into effect.

Dystopian images of logjams that stretched for 435 miles (700km) at one point Thursday evening – exacerbated by the upcoming long holiday weekend – were a grim sign of a return to the dark days of the spring. 

With infections hitting record levels in some countries, many are now resorting to severe restrictions again .

In France, concerns were growing that rising infections would swamp the country’s health system, so authorities ordered another four-week lockdown beginning Friday. 

There was only a sprinkling of people hurrying along city sidewalks in Paris on Friday as the nationwide restrictions went into effect

There was only a sprinkling of people hurrying along city sidewalks in Paris on Friday as the nationwide restrictions went into effect

There was only a sprinkling of people hurrying along city sidewalks in Paris on Friday as the nationwide restrictions went into effect

A man walks by the empty Tuileries gardens in the centre of Paris. French authorities ordered another four-week lockdown beginning Friday

A man walks by the empty Tuileries gardens in the centre of Paris. French authorities ordered another four-week lockdown beginning Friday

A man walks by the empty Tuileries gardens in the centre of Paris. French authorities ordered another four-week lockdown beginning Friday

Many areas of the French capital resembled a regular lazy weekend morning – on what would normally have been a bustling weekday. 

Those who were out frequently clutched permission forms proving they had an exemption that allowed them to to be on streets.

The only places that were busy were grocery stores and markets as people stockpiled food and other necessities.

All of France’s 67 million people have been ordered to stay at home at all times with no visitors, or risk steep fines or prosecution. 

There are a handful of exceptions, such as being allowed out for one hour of exercise a day within a half-mile (1km) of home, to go to medical appointments, to a place of work, or to shop for essential goods. 

Restaurants and cafes are shuttered, apart from those that offer takeout.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus UK: 46% familes WILL stick to Christmas lockdown rules

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coronavirus uk 46 familes will stick to christmas lockdown rules

Almost half of families in the UK intend to stick to coronavirus rules at Christmas even if they prevent them from seeing their loved ones. 

An exclusive poll for MailOnline found 46 per cent of people said they will fully adhere to the rules and not celebrate with relatives or friends from other households indoors if that is what the restrictions in their local area demand. 

The survey of 3,000 people, conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies on October 28, found that just 19 per cent intend not to fully adhere to the rules and still celebrate indoors with people from outside their immediate household.  

Just over one in 10, some 14 per cent, said they would try to stick to restrictions and meet loved ones outdoors in a public space on the big day while five per cent intend to celebrate overseas and 17 per cent were unsure what they will do. 

Just 19 per cent of people said they intend not to adhere to coronavirus rules over Christmas if there is a ban on households gathering indoors

Just 19 per cent of people said they intend not to adhere to coronavirus rules over Christmas if there is a ban on households gathering indoors

Just 19 per cent of people said they intend not to adhere to coronavirus rules over Christmas if there is a ban on households gathering indoors 

The Government is facing a major headache over what to do about coronavirus rules over the Christmas period. 

Ministers believe it is inevitable that many people will travel to be with their families even if restrictions say they should not do so. 

However, there are fears that lifting the rules temporarily to allow families to meet would result in a ‘spreading event’ which would cause a significant spike in coronavirus infections. 

Today’s poll found that the nation is split on whether the Government understands the economic and social damage its lockdown restrictions are doing. 

Some 47 per cent of respondents said the Government does understand the impact on the public but 37 per cent think the Government does not. 

Meanwhile, four in ten Britons (39 per cent) said they would support restrictions like the Rule of Six being relaxed over Christmas and 31 per cent would oppose such a much.  

The debate over what to do during the Christmas period remains ongoing in Whitehall with ministers insisting that it is too early to make decisions on the matter. 

Police chiefs have said that if rules banning household mixing are in place over Christmas then officers could break up family gatherings. 

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said yesterday that ‘the police have a duty and a responsibility to enforce the rules’.

‘We obviously want to ensure that families can gather for Christmas,’ he told Sky News.

‘I want to be with my own family at Christmas. That is some way off.

‘What we have to do now is take action, decisive action now against the virus to give us the best possible chance of being able to achieve that and that is exactly what we are trying to do.’

Tory MPs have urged the Government to give families a ‘break’ and allow them to meet after a ‘dreadful year’.   

They also blasted the suggestion that police could crackdown on families meeting for Christmas dinner as they said ‘this is not some totalitarian state like China’.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Philophobia: Low budget film hits cinemas as James Bond postponed

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philophobia low budget film hits cinemas as james bond postponed

The director of a low-budget coming of age film has said he cold-called the box office of local cinemas to get them to show his movie after the latest James Bond film was delayed.

Guy Davies, 29, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, said while Cineworlds and Picturehouses have temporarily closed, the delay of No Time To Die until 2021 has left cinemas that remain open in need of new releases – and so he decided to try his luck with his feature debut Philophobia.

He said: ‘It happened that it just created more space for us when cinemas decided to stay open.

The UK cinema industry was deeply disappointed when film bosses delayed the release of the 25th James Bond film for a second time - prompting two major chains to close down again temporarily

The UK cinema industry was deeply disappointed when film bosses delayed the release of the 25th James Bond film for a second time - prompting two major chains to close down again temporarily

The UK cinema industry was deeply disappointed when film bosses delayed the release of the 25th James Bond film for a second time – prompting two major chains to close down again temporarily

The film's director Guy Davies, 29, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, rang up cinemas across the country seeing if they would like to show his movie as many big producers are holding back their big releases or putting them online

The film's director Guy Davies, 29, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, rang up cinemas across the country seeing if they would like to show his movie as many big producers are holding back their big releases or putting them online

The film’s director Guy Davies, 29, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, rang up cinemas across the country seeing if they would like to show his movie as many big producers are holding back their big releases or putting them online

The low-budget movie is going to be shown in 50 cinemas and is loosely based on the writer-director's own life

The low-budget movie is going to be shown in 50 cinemas and is loosely based on the writer-director's own life

The low-budget movie is going to be shown in 50 cinemas and is loosely based on the writer-director’s own life

‘It’s worked out really well, I got a little bit frustrated or tired of trying to work the distribution process, we had offers but they weren’t necessarily going to be doing all the things I wanted to do with the film, so I thought “Why not?”

‘There is a space in the cinemas right now because studios are pulling their films out and we’ve got a film that has done well on the festival circuit, so I just thought I would have a crack.

‘I started with local cinemas because I was only trying to get four or five to be honest, and then once I had a few I thought maybe I should try and expand this so I went a little bit further afield.

‘Then once I got a few more I started receiving phone calls from cinema programmers saying ‘We have seen the trailer, it looks good, can we check it out?’, and it spread really quickly in matter of a few days after I got the first few.’

The film will now open in almost 50 cinemas around the UK, including in London’s Leicester Square.

He said: ‘I made a list of cinemas, starting with independent cinemas, that I thought would be good for the film, and scoured the internet for the contact details of the people who book the films and if I couldn’t find them I just rang the box office at the cinema and asked who to talk to.’

Davies has taken a DIY approach to everything about the movie, including securing funding.

He said: ‘The Stroud News And Journal have been incredibly supportive the entire way through this process.

Cinema owners hoped No Time To Die could save 2020 for the industry, but the film's producers decided to postpone its release for a second time

Cinema owners hoped No Time To Die could save 2020 for the industry, but the film's producers decided to postpone its release for a second time

Cinema owners hoped No Time To Die could save 2020 for the industry, but the film’s producers decided to postpone its release for a second time

Guy Davies said he wanted his film to be released in the cinema instead of streaming it online

Guy Davies said he wanted his film to be released in the cinema instead of streaming it online

Guy Davies said he wanted his film to be released in the cinema instead of streaming it online

‘I got in touch with them and they wrote a little piece saying I was doing this film, someone read it and got in touch and we went to a cafe and that is how I got my first chunk of money, and then I just went from there.

‘I made a list of local people that had some kind of influence or might know people that might want to invest and politely got in touch, but 90 per cent of the money was funded locally, maybe even 95 per cent per cent.’

While many films have skipped the theatrical release and gone straight to streaming, Davies said he was always determined to show his debut in cinemas.

‘It was important because it was my first film and it was shot for cinema, that is just what I did.

‘I really had cinemas in mind from the beginning, it was always part of the goal and I feel the film plays a lot better in cinemas because I made it for there.’

Philophobia is out now in UK cinemas.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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