Sky News Australia gets YouTube ban and channel strike over Covid-19 misinformation

Sky News Australia has been slapped with a temporary ban from YouTube.

The channel was found to have been posting numerous videos denying the existence of Covid-19, while others encouraged the use of harmful alternative treatments that are not recommended by medical professionals. 

In handing the broadcaster a seven day ban from uploading videos to its channel with 1.85 million subscribers, YouTube did not disclose which specific videos were offending but said that there were “numerous” which have now been removed.

In addition, Sky News Australia has been given a ‘strike’ which impacts its ability to generate ad revenue from its YouTube channel. A further two strikes within the 90-day period will result in the channel’s permanent removal. 

A spokesperson for YouTube said: “We apply our policies equally for everyone regardless of uploader, 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. Specifically, we don’t allow content that denies the existence of Covid-19 or that encourages people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus. We do allow for videos that have sufficient countervailing context, which the violative videos did not provide.”

For its part, Sky News Australia has rejected the claims of Covid-19 denial while also stating that “no such videos were ever published or removed.” One of its most popular videos published in mid-2020 explicitly stated in its title “this virus is not a pandemic.”

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