YouTube has temporarily suspended the right-wing outlet One America News Network (OANN) for uploading a video promoting a fake COVID-19 cure.
OANN’s channel will stay online, but it will be temporarily prohibited from both posting new videos and being able to make money from existing videos for a week. It has been removed from YouTube’s advertising partner program. It will have to re-apply for YouTube’s monetization feature.
In a statement, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said, “We have worked to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation associated with COVID-19 on YouTube and after a detailed analysis and review, we removed a video from One America News Network. We issued a strike on the channel for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content claiming that there’s a guaranteed cure for the disease. Additionally, due to the repetitive violations of our platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy and other channel monetization policies, we have finally decided to suspend OANN from the YouTube Partner Program and, its monetization on YouTube.”
OANN has repeatedly been testing YouTube’s policies, just recently around the US presidential election. YouTube took a stronger approach to election misinformation than the other social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, allowing a video from OANN where it falsely claimed that President Donald Trump won the election. It defended its policy by emphasizing that it promotes authoritative news organizations, a category that YouTube said doesn’t include OANN. Now OANN if wants to monetize videos, it will have to re-apply for the partner program, and it will receive one strike under YouTube’s ‘three-strikes policy’ for termination.
YouTube said that this action comes in the form of a strike against One America News Network for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy. This policy informs users not to post content claiming that a vaccine for the disease is available or that there’s a guaranteed cure for COVID-19.
This is the first strike for OANN, and if it receives two more YouTube, the account will be deactivated. This is not YouTube’s first violation of the coronavirus misinformation policy. OANN has already violated YouTube’s COVID-19 misinformation policy before as well, which is why the suspension came in the form of a strike instead of a warning. This move marks YouTube’s largest crackdown against OANN.
YouTube said in mid-October that it would start banning content that contradicts facts from the World Health Organization and local health authorities in regards to the coronavirus disease. There are also unfounded claims like COVID-19 vaccines would kill people or cause infertility.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube last week said that they are teaming up to stop the spread of misinformation over COVID-19 vaccines with a British fact-checking charity organization. However, this move was only for Canada and the UK but the US government is not participating in the coordinated effort.