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YouTube suspends OANN for violating its Covid-19 policy

YouTube removed an OANN video for violating a policy prohibiting the posting of content that spreads coronavirus misinformation.

YouTube suspended the right-leaning One America News Network for one week on Tuesday after it posted a video that contained coronavirus misinformation.

YouTube removed the video for violating a policy prohibiting the posting of content that spreads coronavirus misinformation. The one that One America News Network, or OANN, posted contained claims of a guaranteed cure for the disease.

The suspension means OANN cannot post new content for a week and will be blocked indefinitely from the YouTube Partner Program, which means the network can no longer make money off its existing content. OANN can reapply for the YouTube Partner Program and be readmitted if it fixes the issues that led to the suspension. The network did not respond to a request for comment.

“Since early in this pandemic, we’ve worked to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation associated with Covid-19 on YouTube,” said YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi. “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.”

The move comes after YouTube and other social media sites have faced criticism for allowing sites like OANN to spread misinformation about the coronavirus and the election.

The one-week suspension is part of a three-strike system that YouTube uses to monitor misinformation and regulate accounts that violate its policies. The first infraction usually results in a warning, which is then followed by three strikes. This is the first strike OANN has received, but because it’s violated YouTube’s policies before, any future infractions will result in additional strikes not warnings.

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In addition to misleading or inaccurate coronavirus misinformation, OANN has been among the most prolific publishers on YouTube of false claims around the election, primarily that President Donald Trump won re-election. Trump has praised OANN for this coverage.

OANN has 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube but is not considered an authoritative news source by the Google-owned video platform. That means its content won’t surface high in search results related to Covid-19 or be promoted in recommendations.

YouTube says it has reviewed and removed 200,000 videos for misleading Covid-19 content since February.