YouTube suspends OAN after it promotes a fake COVID-19 cure

Yolanda Curtis
November 25, 2020

YouTube has banned One America News Network (OANN) from uploading new videos and livestreaming for one week, after the Trump-friendly media outlet promoted a fake cure for COVID-19. And OAN is full of it: The network is obsessively loyal to Trump and has been gaining in popularity by being more loyal to Trump than the president's traditional ally, Fox News. After a channel receives three strikes, YouTube terminates it altogether.

"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", said Ivy Choi, YouTube spokesperson, in a statement. "Since early in this pandemic, we've worked to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation associated with Covid-19".

Beyond that, the one-time influential pundit now also hosts a weekend show called Mark Halperin's Focus Group.When asked about Halperin's role with the network in August, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy told The Washington Post that Halperin had "been posting or doing a focus group Zoom video on YouTube" and that they thought they "would test it on the weekends and see how the political talk did".

The decision to suspend OANN comes after YouTube previously sought less restrictive actions against the conservative outlet on its platform. OAN has for weeks been baselessly claiming that Trump won the November 3rd election in a landslide over Joe Biden, for example.

OANN responded to the suspension by saying it would abide by YouTube's policies going forward but added that it "will not let YouTube's arbitrary rules infringe upon our First Amendment editorial rights to inform the public".

And at a congressional hearing with the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter, Democratic Sen Richard Blumenthal criticized Google, YouTube's owner, for its "timidity" in content moderation.

YouTube says it does not consider OAN one of the authoritative news sources it surfaces to viewers.

The suspension will last a week, during which time no new videos can be put up.

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