One America News Network (OANN) has been suspended by YouTube for a week and demonetized indefinitely for posting what the social media giant says was a “cure” for COVID-19. YouTube did not say what specifically OANN said about a cure for COVID-19 that triggered the suspension.
OANN will be able to resume posting videos to their channel after a week but the demonetization penalty means they will have to reapply to the Partner Program in order to make money again.
YouTube said in a statement that the video violated their “COVID-19 misinformation policy.” Considering how often the CDC and the WHO have contradicted themselves on information about the coronavirus, how do they keep track of what’s “misinformation” and what’s just outdated?
“Since early in this pandemic, we’ve worked to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation associated with COVID-19 on YouTube. 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,” YouTube said in a statement. “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.”
I suppose claiming a cure for COVID is incorrect factually but “misinformation” is a subjective term. It suggests an ulterior motive in posting an idiotic claim. Couldn’t they just have labeled the video “total stupidity” and let it go at that?
Not when you’ve accepted the heroic and lonely challenge of policing your site and purging it of ideas you disagree with. There is little argument that YouTube has targeted right-wing channels for special attention. All social media companies have. But I suspect a lot of postings that have been labeled “misinformation” are anything but.
YouTube has a three-strikes policy before it removes an account. OANN’s channel is still live, but the strike means it cannot upload new videos or start new live streams for a week. To make money off videos going forward, OANN will have to reapply to the YouTube Partner Program. Readmittance to the program will require the account to rectify any issues that led to the suspension.
The problem for OANN is that their worldview often clashes with the left’s bizarre belief that they have a corner on “truth” and that any deviation from the reality they have created is “misinformation.” This leads to the arrogant assumption that they are the final arbiters of what’s real and what’s not. Any alternative information is obviously flawed and must be suppressed.
There has been a lot of misinformation about the coronavirus. It’s being spread by kooks, conspiracists, and paranoids. It’s also being spread by governments, scientists, and public health officials. OANN presented a cure for COVID and most of us know that’s a crock. But our leftist overlords are concerned that some people are too stupid to know better. That’s probably true, but punishing everybody else for the stupidity of the few is wrong.
Freedom is hard. Freedom of expression is especially hard. It means that citizens have to evaluate information coming at them and judge its efficacy and usefulness. Sometimes they get it wrong. It may be “misinformation” but isn’t there greater harm in suppressing it than in some being taken in?