YouTube suspends news channel after false information about COVID-19

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The US news channel OANN released a video earlier this week promoting a false cure for COVID-19. YouTube blocked the channel.

The American One America News Network (OANN) is best known as Donald Trump’s favorite news channel. Yesterday, a YouTube spokesperson announced to Axios that the right-wing, ultra-conservative news channel was over the line with a video. In it, OANN promotes a false cure for COVID-19. The video platform imposed sanctions on the channel.

Since the start of the global outbreak of COVID-19, YouTube has been committed to informing viewers on the platform as well as possible and to combat fake news. One of the rules it drew up for this is that users cannot claim that there is a guaranteed cure for the disease. YouTube assessed that OANN had already violated that rule several times and suspended the network’s account.

A week

That means the news channel can’t upload videos for at least a week. In addition to this, it also loses the ability to monetize these videos through the YouTube Partner Program. If they want to regain these rights, they can submit a new application after the sanction. The video in question has since been taken offline.

Strike one

It is not OANN’s first mistake. The channel proclaimed Donald Trump the winner just days after the presidential election, accusing Democrats of electoral fraud. It also contributed significantly to the spread of false theories regarding COVID-19. YouTube has therefore been criticized several times for not taking action against OANN’s malpractices. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, it has a milder enforcement of rules on fake news.

Google’s video platform has a policy whereby an account that exceeds three times the line is permanently deleted. It will therefore no longer issue warnings to OANN, only additional sanctions and eventually the closure of the account.

YouTube emphasizes that it wants to provide a platform to leading news sources, but that One America News Network is not one of them.



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