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YouTube Suspends Far-Right News Network OANN Account for One Week, Citing COVID Misinformation

Video platform also demonetizes pro-Trump media outlet for repeated violations

OANN - One America News Network
OANN

YouTube has penalized the right-wing One America News Network for promoting a bogus cure for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, YouTube said it removed a video posted by OANN, a relentlessly pro-Trump outfit owned by Herring Networks, because it violated the site’s policy prohibiting coronavirus misinformation. Because OANN has received a “strike,” it is temporarily prevented from uploading new videos or live-streaming for one week.

YouTube also has demonetized OANN’s channel, meaning it is no longer eligible to participate in the site’s advertising revenue-sharing program.

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

The YouTube spokesperson continued, “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.”

On YouTube, One America News Network currently has 1.21 million subscribers. OANN’s suspension by the Google-owned video platform was first reported by Axios.

Reps for OANN and Herring Networks did not respond to requests for comment.

First launched in 2013, OANN has been supporting President Trump’s baseless campaign to overturn the 2020 election and promoting the Trump camp’s conspiracy theories about voter fraud. Since media outlets projected that Joe Biden won the White House, Trump has on several occasions urged his Twitter followers to tune in to OANN as well as Newsmax (and retweeted supporters’ posts saying the same thing, including Randy Quaid) while also bashing Fox News Channel’s news division for not adhering to the president’s spurious election-fraud claims.

YouTube’s temporary suspension of OANN’s channel came the same day four Democratic senators called out the video giant for hosting election misinformation. Currently, the video platform does not have a policy that explicitly prohibits misinformation related to elections.

“We write to express our deep concern regarding the proliferation of misinformation on your platform during and immediately following the 2020 elections and in light of the upcoming Georgia runoff elections [for the state’s two U.S. Senate seats],” the group of senators wrote in a letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. “We urge you to immediately remove all election outcome misinformation and take aggressive steps to implement prohibitions, as other social media companies have done, regarding outcomes in future elections.”

A YouTube rep said video platform allows “discussions of this election’s results and the process of counting votes” and that its content moderators are “continuing to closely monitor new developments.” YouTube also says it has promoted authoritative news sources on the site, including labels noting that the AP called the presidential election for Biden.

One America News is available stream on Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV devices, and it’s carried on pay-TV services including Verizon FiOS, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse, and CenturyLink Prism.