Youtube suspends OANN from uploading videos for 1 week over COVID-19 cure claim

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego-based One America News Network was suspended Tuesday from uploading new videos to its YouTube channel for one week for posting a video claiming there is a COVID-19 cure.

YouTube officials said they took action due to a violation of its COVID-19 misinformation policy, resulting in the removal of the video and a strike on OAN’s channel. The strike means the channel remains live, but new videos or livestreams cannot be uploaded for one week.

YouTube’s three-strikes policy allows for three such violations before an account is terminated.

YouTube also said that due to prior violations of the misinformation policy, monetization of the channel’s videos has been suspended.

“Since early in this pandemic, we’ve worked to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation associated with COVID-19 on YouTube,” spokeswoman Ivy Choi said in a statement.

“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,” she said. “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.”

According to YouTube, about 200,000 videos “related to dangerous or misleading COVID-19 information” have been reviewed and removed since early February.

OAN issued a statement claiming the video in question was not made public and was only viewable for OAN staff as an “unlisted” video.

The conservative cable network that President Donald Trump has promoted said it would abide by YouTube’s requirements for any videos uploaded to its channel in the future, but “OAN will not let YouTube’s arbitrary rules infringe upon our First Amendment editorial rights to inform the public.”

While the specific content of the video was not disclosed, OAN’s statement read, “We believe that the opinions of frontline doctors should be heard, regardless if their views agree or differ from the CDC. YouTube requires a warning label if interviewed medical experts deviate from the CDC’s latest thinking, which is frequently subject to change. However, these are actual, practicing doctors who went to medical school and are highly qualified to make medical decisions — much more so than the moderators at YouTube.”

OAN claims it has interviewed more than 50 doctors and healthcare professionals who have successfully treated more than 6,000 COVID-19 patients and that the channel “has highlighted therapeutics — including hydroxychloroquine — recommended by these doctors and that showed evidence of success.”

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