Credible medical professionals are now able to apply for a special verification on YouTube, marking the video giant’s latest effort to combat medical misinformation online.
In a blog post shared on Thursday, Dr. Garth Graham, the global head of YouTube Health, wrote that healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses and mental health specialists, can now apply to use the platform’s health product features.
YouTube’s health product features were introduced last year but were only available to educational institutions, public health departments, hospitals and government entities.
The health product features include “health source information panels on videos to help viewers identify videos from authoritative sources, and health content shelves that more effectively highlight videos from these sources when you search for specific health topics.”
The news comes a year after YouTube announced a total ban on vaccine misinformation and the termination of the accounts of several prominent anti-vaccine influencers, citing “the need to remove egregious harmful content.” That policy was enacted after the company began to see false claims about Covid-19 vaccines “spill over into misinformation about vaccines in general,” according to a company blog post.
The new tools announced Thursday are intended to help users identify reliable sources and weed out those who give medical advice without proper certification.
“This new step will allow us to expand to include high quality information from a wider group of healthcare channels,” Graham wrote in the blog post.
The features will not limit search results, according to YouTube’s blog post.
YouTube said it received guidance from nonprofit nongovernmental organization, the National Academy of Medicine, on how to verify credible medical professionals. A panel from the National Academy of Medicine drafted a “first of their kind” list of principles for YouTube to use when vetting the medical professionals.
The post did not specify what guidance it’s using to verify medical professionals in the post.
“Throughout my years of working in public health and practicing medicine, I have seen the benefits of getting the right information to patients when they need it,” Graham said. “These new features are an important step to improve our platform’s role in connecting people with high quality information. We know that there is more work to be done and our investment will continue for the long-term.”
When asked for further comment, a spokesperson for Google referred NBC News to resources available on YouTube’s informational page about the eligibility criteria for healthcare professionals.