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OANN Blasts YouTube Suspension: ‘Arbitrary Rules Infringe Upon First Amendment Rights’

The conservative channel says that the video in question was “unlisted,” not “public”

One America News Network slammed YouTube Wednesday over its Tuesday suspension of the conservative channel’s account.

OANN said in a lengthy statement that the week-long ban on posting new videos and demonetization — which came after it posted a video heralding what YouTube said was an unproven cure to COVID-19 — is a First Amendment violation.

“We believe that the opinions of frontline doctors should also be heard, regardless if their views agree or differ from the CDC,” said the statement.

It went on, “Further, the video in question was not made ‘public’ on YouTube.  The video was ‘unlisted’ on YouTube for review by internal OAN staff only.  This fact was provided by OAN to YouTube. The video is available for viewing at www.oann.com.  Although OAN will abide by YouTube’s requirements for any video made available on YouTube, OAN will not let YouTube’s arbitrary rules infringe upon its First Amendment editorial rights to inform the public.”

A representative for YouTube did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for further comment after OANN provided its statement.

A spokesperson for YouTube, which is owned by Google, told TheWrap on Tuesday, “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.”

The spokesperson went on, “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.”

The YouTube spokesperson explained that OANN’s channel already used up its lifetime channel warning, which it received previously, also for violating the company’s COVID-19 misinformation policy.

The OANN video in question has been removed. YouTube has a three-strikes policy in place that allows a channel to accumulate three strikes before it is terminated.

President Donald Trump has regularly promoted OANN as an alternative to Fox News when he is angry at the larger network. OANN does not yet qualify for Nielsen Media Research ratings and can’t be compared to Fox News or Newsmax beyond the fact that Trump retweets them all.