YouTube suspends pay of 14 Brazilian channels over misinformation allegations

YouTube suspends pay of 14 Brazilian channels over misinformation allegations
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Fourteen YouTube channels have had their payments suspended by the company amid allegations that they spread misinformation about the country’s 2022 election. 

"In compliance with the decision of the Brazilian Superior Electoral Court (TSE) of August 16, YouTube informs that it has suspended access to the revenue attributed to those responsible for the 14 channels indicated by the TSE," a YouTube spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.
 
"We reinforce our commitment to continue to collaborate with the work of authorities in Brazil and to continue to invest in policies, resources and products to protect the youtube community from harmful content," the person added.

The news comes after several social and multimedia platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, were directed last week by Brazil’s inspector general of electoral justice Luis Felipe Salomão, to temporarily halt payments to creators and other entities allegedly mired in election misinformation. 

The wire service reported that many of the YouTube channels targeted were supporters of controversial Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro may soon face a probe over unsubstantiated claims that fraud exists within Brazil’s voting system, according to CNN.

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The far-right president has also been criticized for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including overpricing and corruption accusations involving a deal to secure vaccines made by Bharat Biotech, Reuters reported.

Like the YouTube channels, Bolsonaro has also been targeted by the video platform for allegedly spreading misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

YouTube confirmed in July that it had removed videos from the president’s channel “after careful review,” citing its policy over coronavirus misinformation.

“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 in July.

"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.

Updated Aug. 27, 10:05 p.m.