Fake news on the Covid-19 pandemic has led to vaccine hesitancy worldwide. “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization remarked earlier this year, referring to fake news that, he said, spreads faster and more easily than the Covid-19 virus.
Africa Check writes that “as an international network of fact-checking organisations, we monitor how lies spread online – and every day, we see that YouTube is one of the major conduits of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide”.
Although YouTube has said it removed 130,000 videos from its platform since 2020 of misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, fake news is still being spread, including by medical professionals.
World leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, reportedly said in July 2021 that social media platforms were largely responsible for people’s scepticism in getting vaccinated by spreading misinformation, and appealed for them to address the issue.