OANN has been temporarily suspended by YouTube for coronavirus misinformation.
Image: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
By Matt Binder2020-11-24 23:00:07 UTC
President Trump’s favorite television news network has gotten itself in trouble on YouTube.
No, I’m not talking about Fox News. That would’ve been his favorite before the election. I’m talking about the one that’s been pushing post-election misinformation about voter fraud and the election results: One America News Network (OANN).
According to Axios, YouTube has stripped OANN’s channel of its monetization eligibility. With YouTube demonetizing the channel, OANN can no longer generate revenue from the ads placed on the video content it uploads to the platform. If it wants to monetize its videos again, it will have to reapply.
YouTube also hit OANN with a one-week suspension that blocks the company from uploading videos to its channel or starting livestreams.
A YouTube spokesperson tells Axios that the company took action after OANN “uploaded a video promoting a phony cure for COVID-19.” This is YouTube’s first strike against the OANN channel. Three strikes would result in permanent deletion of the account.
YouTube has long been criticized for allowing misinformation and conspiracy theories to proliferate on its platform. For example, instead of deleting content, YouTube has opted to just remove most of the conspiratorial videos from its recommendation algorithm. Last month, the company finally updated its policy to carve out exceptions for dangerous conspiracies and misinformation, which could lead to real-world harm. That type of content, which included a number of channels promoting the QAnon conspiracy, is now banned from YouTube.
YouTube has been a bit more proactive when it comes to COVID-19 misinformation. In April, the Google-owned platform banned content promoting “medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent the coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment.” Last month, it expanded the policy to explicitly include misinformation about coronavirus vaccines.
While YouTube has made progress when it comes to QAnon conspiracy theories and coronavirus falsehoods, misinformation surrounding the results of the 2020 presidential election is another story. Critics have singled out YouTube for its lack of action against election misinformation.
OANN has risen to prominence and gained the highly sought after spot of being President Trump’s new favorite news network, one which he regularly shares clips of on Twitter, due to its promotion of election misinformation.
Yet it took a video pushing lies about the coronavirus for YouTube to take action.
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