UPDATED: YouTube pulled down the channel of U.K. radio station TalkRadio, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, after initially deeming it in violation of the platforms COVID-19 misinformation guidelines — but restored it a few hours later after “further review.”
“TalkRadio’s YouTube channel was briefly suspended, but upon further review, has now been reinstated,” YouTube said in a statement.
YouTube, citing its community guidelines, said it removes COVID-19-related content that “explicitly contradicts expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization.” However, the video platform noted, it makes exceptions for content “posted with an educational, documentary, scientific or artistic purpose, as was deemed in this case.” YouTube didn’t explain what content on TalkRadio’s channel had triggered the earlier takedown.
The BBC earlier reported that certain COVID-related claims made by TalkRadio guests have been disputed by British fact-checking group Full Fact, including allegations that “much of the population” of the U.K. was “already immune” to the coronavirus before it arrived in the country.
In a statement earlier Tuesday on Twitter, TalkRadio wrote, “We urgently await a detailed response from Google/YouTube about the nature of the breach that has led to our channel being removed from its platform.”
The broadcaster added, “TalkRadio is an Ofcom-licensed and regulated broadcaster, and has robust editorial controls in place, taking care to balance debate. We regularly interrogate government data and we have controls in place, use verifiable sources and give space to careful selection of voices and opinions.”
TalkRadio currently has about 245,000 subscribers on its YouTube channel. In the tweet, TalkRadio posted links where listeners can tune in on its website as well as live on Facebook and Twitter.
After the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, YouTube adopted a policy banning “harmful misinformation” related to the disease (including videos that deny the efficacy of recommendations from health authorities to stop the spread of COVID). In October, the video platform expanded that to also cover misinformation related to coronavirus vaccines.
Last fall, YouTube suspended far-right One America News Network for one week, citing repeated violations of its COVID-19 misinformation policy.