YouTube takes down videos from Brazilian president’s channel, citing coronavirus misinformation

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
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YouTube on Wednesday removed videos from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel, citing its policy against spreading coronavirus misinformation.

YouTube said that it made the move without regard to the president’s politics, and said that “after careful review” it decided to take down some of the videos. 

“Our policies don’t allow content that claims hydroxychloroquine and/or Ivermectin are effective to treat or prevent COVID-19, claims that there is a guaranteed cure for COVID-19, and claims that masks don’t work to prevent the spread of the virus,” a spokesperson for YouTube told The Hill in a statement.

“This is in line with the guidance of local and global health authorities, and we update our policies as guidance changes. We apply our policies consistently across the platform, regardless of speaker or political view,” the spokesperson added.

Bolsonaro’s office did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment.

Bolsonaro, who is being investigated for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been fined several times for failing to wear a mask and has made bizarre comments regarding vaccines and the pandemic. 

According to AFP, the Brazilian president suggested in December that the Pfizer vaccine could turn someone into a crocodile and has referred to the coronavirus as “a little flu.”

“In the Pfizer contract it’s very clear: ‘we’re not responsible for any side effects.’ If you turn into a crocodile, it’s your problem,” Bolsonaro said in December, according to AFP.

He also claimed that Brazilians could “jump into sewage” and not catch anything, according to The Guardian.  

Reuters notes that YouTube’s decision follows ones taken by Facebook and Twitter last year in which they also removed content after Bolsonaro made statements that were at odds with medical advice being given by health experts.

Updated Friday at 8:53 a.m.

Tags COVID-19 COVID-19 misinformation Jair Bolsonaro misinformation YouTube
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