YouTube has slapped the One America News Network (OANN) with a week-long suspension, accusing the conservative channel of pushing “Covid-19 misinformation,” though no media reports have clarified what exactly justified the ban.
The temporary ban was imposed on Tuesday, Axios first reported, citing YouTube representative Ivy Choi, with OANN barred from uploading new videos or livestreams to its channel for a week and permanently booted from the platform’s “Partner Program,” meaning it will have to reapply before it can monetize videos again.
“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,” Choi said in a statement to several reporters, though refrained from offering any detail on the offending video.
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.
It remains unclear what particular claim or video got the outlet suspended, as the piece in question was scrubbed from the channel and none of the reporters who exchanged with Choi clarified the exact reason for the penalty.
If anyone in the press cared about free speech, you’d actually want to know what the basis for the censorship decision was! “It was unclear what specifically OANN’s video said about a Covid-19 cure that made YouTube decide to suspend the channel.” pic.twitter.com/KY44ekXn9V
Several other recent clips from OANN reference the pandemic, but none appear to tout a “cure” for the coronavirus beyond standard coverage of the various vaccines under development and when one could be available. However, the president of the publication, Charles Herring, said the video had been left unviewable to the public and was meant only “for review” by OANN staff only before it was removed.
“YouTube took the extreme action of censoring a national cable news network for a video that was ‘unlisted’ and not available publicly on YouTube,” Herring told the Epoch Times, adding that while the outlet will comply with YouTube’s requirements, it “will not let YouTube’s arbitrary rules infringe upon its First Amendment editorial rights to inform the public.”
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