YouTube on Thursday has suspended Sky News Australia from its platform for a week, claiming the network had violated community policies against spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
YouTube has reviewed several posts which questioned whether there was a pandemic and the efficacy of vaccines before imposing the suspension and issuing a “strike” under its three-strike policy.
“We apply our policies equally for everyone and in accordance with these policies and our long-standing strikes system, removed videos from and issued a strike to Sky News Australia’s channel,” said a YouTube spokesperson in a statement to Reuters.
Sky News Australia’s content allegedly denied the existence of Covid-19 or encouraged people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat the coronavirus without providing “countervailing context”.
Sky News Australia admitted that some old videos did not comply with YouTube’s policies and took its “commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously”. But it denied any of its hosts had ever denied the existence of Covid-19.
Jack Houghton, Sky News Australia’s digital editor, wrote in a subsequent article that the decision by YouTube is a “disturbing attack on the ability to think freely” and claimed that the “censorship” was driven by “political” motives.
Sky News Australia has around 1.85 million subscribers and claimed it has uploaded more than 20,000 videos in the previous 12 months.
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