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YouTube just suspended OANN after it said the conservative media outlet promoted a fake cure for COVID-19



a close up of a person holding a sign: A reporter with One America News Network works at a campaign rally with President Donald Trump on September 25, 2020 in Newport News, Virginia. Drew Angerer/Getty Images


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A reporter with One America News Network works at a campaign rally with President Donald Trump on September 25, 2020 in Newport News, Virginia. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • YouTube has suspended the conservative media outlet OANN from posting videos and monetizing its content for a week after it posted a video promoting a fake COVID-19 cure.
  • The site’s policies prohibit users from posting content that claims there is a guaranteed cure for the coronavirus disease.
  • The suspension comes as misinformation surrounding the pandemic and the 2020 presidential election continues to proliferate the online world.
  • Social media platforms have attempted to crack down on misinformation by flagging or removing posts, many of which are published by Republicans, prompting conservatives to launch accusations of anti-conservative bias at tech companies.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

YouTube is temporarily suspending One America News Network (OANN) from the platform after the conservative media outlet uploaded a video promoting a fake COVID-19 cure.

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OANN is temporarily prohibited from both posting new videos and being able to make money off of existing videos for a week. It will have to reapply for YouTube’s monetization feature, according to Axios, which first reported the news.

In a statement to Business Insider, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said: “After careful review, we removed a video from OANN and issued a strike on the channel for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content claiming there’s a guaranteed cure. Additionally, due to repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy and other channel monetization policies, we’ve suspended the channel from the YouTube Partner Program and as a result, its monetization on YouTube.”

YouTube said the time-out comes in the form of a “strike” against OANN for violating its COVID-19 misinformation policy, which instructs users not to post content that claims a vaccine for the disease is available or that there’s a guaranteed cure. This is OANN’s first strike, and if it receives two more, the account will be deactivated. OANN has violated YouTube’s COVID-19 misinformation policy before, which is why the suspension came in the form of a strike instead of a warning, Axios reported.

YouTube said in mid-October that it would start banning content that contradicts facts from the World Health Organization and local health authorities regarding the coronavirus disease. Unfounded claims include saying COVID-19 vaccines would kill people or cause infertility.

And Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube’s parent company, Google, said last week that they’re teaming up to help stop the spread of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines with a British fact-checking charity organization. However, that pledge was only for Canada, the UK, and several other nations — the US government is not participating in the coordinated effort.

YouTube’s suspension of OANN comes on the same day that Senate Democrats wrote a joint letter imploring YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki to crack down on election misinformation surrounding the Georgia runoff.

Social media platforms have faced rampant spread of misinformation relating to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election this year and have rolled out individual efforts to combat misleading content.

Read more: How Mark Zuckerberg’s competitiveness and attempts to keep Facebook politically neutral turned it into a haven for misinformation and conspiracy theories that can swing elections

Tech platforms have flagged or removed posts published by conservative outlets and figures, including President Donald Trump, prompting conservatives to levy accusations of anti-right bias at tech companies.

Republican lawmakers have grilled tech CEOs over alleged discrimination at congressional hearings. But as Emma Ruby-Sachs, executive director of the consumer watchdog group SumOfUS, told Business Insider in a previous interview, the fake news spreaders routinely happen to be Republicans.

And right-leaning content statically dominates online — Facebook’s top-performing posts regularly come from conservative outlets and figures, like Fox News.

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