OANN loses its place on YouTube because of COVID-19 misinformation, not its disinformation

You’d think they’d be penalized for all that disinformation, but in regard to the Trump de-election campaign, that will continue. You take what you can get in the marginally deregulated media universe, whatever “more willing” means considering the size of the Trumpist audience.


According to Axios, YouTube has stripped OANN’s channel of its monetization eligibility. With YouTube demonetizing the channel, OANN can no longer generate revenue from the ads placed on the video content it uploads to the platform. If it wants to monetize its videos again, it will have to reapply.

YouTube also hit OANN with a one-week suspension that blocks the company from uploading videos to its channel or starting livestreams.

A YouTube spokesperson tells Axios that the company took action after OANN “uploaded a video promoting a phony cure for COVID-19.” This is YouTube’s first strike against the OANN channel. Three strikes would result in permanent deletion of the account.

YouTube has long been criticized for allowing misinformation and conspiracy theories to proliferate on its platform. For example, instead of deleting content, YouTube has opted to just remove most of the conspiratorial videos from its recommendation algorithm. Last month, the company finally updated its policy to carve out exceptions for dangerous conspiracies and misinformation, which could lead to real-world harm. That type of content, which included a number of channels promoting the QAnon conspiracy, is now banned from YouTube.



Why it matters: YouTube has been criticized for allowing OANN to spread misinformation using its platform, particularly around coronavirus and the election. This marks the Google-owned service's first crackdown against OANN.

Details: OANN's one-week suspension from posting new videos or livestreams is the result of a “strike” YouTube issued for violating its COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits saying there is a guaranteed cure to the virus. YouTube took down the video that triggered the strike.

  • OANN is also suspended from the YouTube Partner Program, which means if it wants to monetize its videos again, it will have to re-apply.
  • YouTube has a three-strikes policy before an account is terminated. This is OANN's first strike, but it has violated the platform's COVID-19 misinformation policy before, meaning it gets no more warnings if it breaks the rules again — just additional strikes.
  • YouTube says it does not consider OANN an authoritative news source.

The big picture: YouTube, like other platforms, has grown more willing to take action against conservative-leaning accounts that spread misinformation. It has also been trying to provide greater visibility to legitimate news outlets.

  • A quartet of Democratic senators sent a letter Tuesday to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki pressing her company to do more to stem the tide of election misinformation.
  • Posting videos that make false claims about election results isn't against YouTube's rules.



— One America News (@OANN) November 24, 2020


— Donie O'Sullivan (@donie) November 24, 2020


— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) November 24, 2020


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  • November 24, 2020