KEY POINTS

  • The One America News Network, one of Donald Trump's favored media platforms, has been temporarily banned from Youtube over a fake COVID-19 cure
  • They have been permanently demonetized unless they make broader changes
  • OANN and Newsmax have benefitted from a conservative exodus away from even Twitter and Facebook toward more insular safe spaces

The conservative One America News Network has been banned from YouTube for a week over a video claiming that there is a guaranteed cure for COVID-19.

The channel has also been demonetized, and will not be able to make money off its videos unless it addresses deeper issues with its content. The Tuesday strike comes during ongoing efforts by YouTube to curb misinformation on its platform.

"Since early in this pandemic, we've worked to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation associated with COVID-19,” read a statement from 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 that claims there's a guaranteed cure."

It’s not clear exactly what the video was saying beyond the existence of a cure, as the video itself has been taken down. OANN has a history of pushing conspiracy theories and COVID-19 cures that are debunked by more reputable agencies and researchers. 

YouTube runs off of a "three strikes" policy, with further strikes resulting in escalating consequences and eventual removal altogether. This is OANN’s first strike, but its disciplinary history now means it will no longer receive warnings for problematic content, receiving a full strike instead, Axios noted.

YouTube has kicked anti-disinformation efforts into overdrive in response to public pressure and criticism from lawmakers. Four Democratic senators sent a letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki lambasting her company for tolerating the spread of disinformation.

“The platform is now home to an ‘onslaught of videos aiming to undermine the legitimacy of the election,’” the letter reads. “Because the current president has not committed to a peaceful transition of power, misinformation and manipulated media content on your platform may fuel civil unrest.”

OANN and Newsmax have become the favored platforms of Donald Trump after Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden and took an increasingly skeptical stance toward his many baseless allegations of election fraud.

Social media has seen increasing calls among conservatives to pivot toward OANN and Newsmax as information sources and migrate from Twitter to Parler, a similar platform that favors conservatives.