The video streaming platform announced on Thursday that it would allow specific categories of healthcare professionals to apply for a label that identifies their channel and content as a legitimate and certified source of medical information. The label had been previously used for educational and medical institutions and public health departments but will now be expanded to individuals.
“When it comes to our health, people trust healthcare professionals to give us the best advice,” YouTube said in a blog post. “But the opportunity that healthcare professionals have to inform and educate their patients largely stops at the clinic door. The reality is that the majority of healthcare decisions are made outside the doctor’s office, in the everyday lives of our patients.”
Professionals can now apply to make their channels eligible for YouTube’s health products features, which it launched last year. These include health source information panels that ensure users see authoritative sources. It would also allow users to see health content shelves highlighting relevant videos from the certified channels related to the subjects.
Channels must present proof of their medical license and follow a series of guidelines for giving medical information defined by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, the National Academy of Medicine, and the World Health Organization. Certified channels will receive a panel identifying them as licensed healthcare officials and have their content appear in relevant search results.
The verification process appears to be part of larger efforts by YouTube and its parent company, Google, to ensure what they determine to be “authoritative” content ends up high in their search results. This includes their plans for Election Day, where they intend to display authoritative information on the election through additional panels and live results. They also cracked down on videos promoting dangerous medical procedures, such as self-performed abortions. YouTube aggressively censored COVID-19-related content it deemed misinformation during the pandemic, and went as far as to censor videos of Senate testimony and of licensed doctors.