Technology

YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation

YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation

YouTube has suspended the pro-Trump One America News Network from posting new videos for a week, and the outlet has had its old content demonetized after uploading a video containing misinformation about the coronavirus, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday.

The weeklong suspension is the result of a “strike” issued for saying that there is a guaranteed cure for COVID-19, a claim that runs afoul of YouTube’s coronavirus-specific policy.

The demonetization came as a result of “repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy and other channel monetization policies,” Choi said. Axios first reported on the suspension and demonetization.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Early on in this pandemic, we’ve worked to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation associated with COVID-19 on YouTube,” she added.

YouTube did not immediately respond to questions about how many strikes OANN had previously accrued. The channel has been criticized for spreading myriad lies about the pandemic and the election. 

False claims about the result of the election are not explicitly banned by the video-sharing platform's policies.

ADVERTISEMENT

In order to start making money off videos again, the network will have to reapply for the YouTube Partner Program.

President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE and his allies have escalated their promotion of OANN as an alternative to Fox News in the aftermath of his electoral loss.

"Many great alternatives are forming & exist. Try @OANN & @newsmax, among others!" the president tweeted Sunday, referring to another right-wing network.

YouTube has been under pressure from lawmakers and academics to take more action against misinformation on its platform.

ADVERTISEMENT

Earlier Tuesday, Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after pushback from Klobuchar, Lee Lobbying world MORE (D-Minn.), Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Bipartisan lawmakers signal support for Biden cybersecurity picks The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Let's make a deal on infrastructure, taxes MORE (D-Mich.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoAnti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle Biden to tap Erika Moritsugu as new Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause MORE (D-Hawaii) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBottom line The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges Democrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices MORE (D-N.J.) sent a letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki urging her to take down “all election outcome misinformation” and implement prohibitions on that kind of content like other major social media companies have done.

“As you know, on January 5, 2021, Georgia voters will cast their ballots in two runoff elections for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats,” they wrote. “YouTube and its industry peers must take responsibility and immediately stop the spread of misinformation and manipulated media on their platforms.”