YouTube is no stranger to temporarily banning media outlets spreading misinformation about COVID-19, but his last suppression could be the largest to date. The Guardian i BBC News they say the video service has banned Sky News Australia from posting new videos for a week over allegations of spreading misinformation about COVID-19. Several Sky videos reportedly violated rules that deny the existence of the new coronavirus or claim that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin were effective treatments.
The clips did not provide “sufficient direct context” to point to false claims, YouTube told The Guardian. YouTube has warned that there is a possibility of “real-world damage” from these videos. This one “blow” against Sky – two more would lead to a permanent ban on the channel.
Sky said it found older videos that violated YouTube’s rules, but dismissed claims that any of its hosts denied the existence of COVID-19. The broadcaster’s digital editor claimed that YouTube threatens free thought, although YouTube focuses specifically on provable facts rather than opinions.
The TV network has come under fire for its stance on COVID-19, especially from host Alan Jones. He falsely claimed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus “is not a pandemic” in 2020, and in July erroneously claimed that a variant of the “Delta” virus was neither dangerous nor affected by vaccines. Noise over these latest statements prompted Sky to formally apologize on July 19, removing the relevant video at the same time.
The suspension will not dramatically damage Sky’s Australian revenue. Yet, it is rare for YouTube to take such action against a large media network. The move also sends a signal – big outlets can’t count on their size to protect them from hacking YouTube.
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