YouTube on Tuesday suspended far-right news organization One America News after it spread false information about the coronavirus pandemic.
OAN had previously posted a video that promoted a “guaranteed cure” for COVID-19. The footage violated the streaming platform’s policy against sharing coronavirus misinformation. The suspension removed the channel from the YouTube Partner Program, which means its videos are now demonetized.
YouTube has a three-strikes policy before it permanently terminates an account. While this is One America News’ first strike, it had previously violated the platform COVID-19 misinformation policy. If it breaks the rules again, the channel will not receive any warnings.
“Since early in this pandemic, we’ve worked to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation associated with COVID-19 on YouTube,” YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi said.
The false video uploaded by OAN has been removed from the site after careful review, according to YouTube’s statement.
OAN Policy Violations
The suspension comes after YouTube was previously criticized for not taking action against misinformation campaigns by the channel. In the days following the 2020 presidential election, OAN uploaded videos that falsely declared President Donald Trump as the winner.
One America News had previously had several videos demonetized after it accused Democrats of rigging the election. YouTube had labeled the video with a warning that read: “Results may not be final.”
A group of Senate Democrats had sent YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki a letter late Monday where they called on the company to take down videos that showed false news about the election and its results. The senators said the misinformation campaigns may affect the two January runoff elections in Georgia, CNET reported.