YouTube stopped One America News Network, one of US President Donald Trump's favored channels, from posting new videos for a week for falsely claiming Covid-19 has a cure, the social media network said Tuesday.
The popular Google-owned site also temporarily stopped OAN from making money from content already online, spokesperson Ivy Choi said.
"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," Choi said in a statement.
This is the first time that YouTube has clamped down on OAN, a small, far-right and fiercely partisan outlet that has refused to recognize Joe Biden's victory in the November 3 presidential election and has spread lies about electoral fraud.
According to YouTube policy, OAN has two more strikes before being kicked off the social media platform.
OAN will also have to prove that it has solved the problems to YouTube's satisfaction if it wants to be able to monetize its videos again.
"Since early in this pandemic, we've worked to prevent the spread of
harmful misinformation associated with Covid-19 on YouTube," Choi said.
Since February YouTube has pulled 200,000 dangerous or misleading videos on the subject, the company said.
YouTube, which has seen an increase in viewership as people remain at home due to the pandemic, has been promoting authoritative information channels —of which OAN is not one.
Angry with alleged "censorship" of conservatives on popular social media sites and even upset with Fox News, tens of thousands of Trump supporters are switching to smaller far-right outlets such as OAN and Newsmax.
Trump has encouraged viewership. "Try watching @OANN . Really GREAT!" he tweeted on November 16.
Several Democratic senators led by Bob Menendez wrote to YouTube on Tuesday asking them to remove videos that spread election disinformation