YouTube on June 11 prevented US Senator Ron Johnson from uploading videos for seven days on clips that the platform claimed violated its COVID-19 “medical disinformation policies”. According to the Associated Press, the Wisconsin Republican’s suspension stems from statements he made during the June 3 Milwaukee Press Club event. Johnson criticized the Trump and Biden administrations for not just ignoring but working against robust research on the use of cheap generic drugs to be repurposed for early treatment of COVID.
“It has always baffled me that there was such a concerted effort to deny the American public the kind of robust exploratory research in early treatment of this pandemic,” Johnson added before describing the drugs hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as “incredibly safe.”
Following his comments, YouTube suspended the US senator for a week. Speaking to the media, a YouTube spokesperson said the platform removed Johnson’s video in accordance with the company’s COVID-19 medical disinformation policies. It is noteworthy that YouTube does not allow content that discloses medical disinformation that contradicts local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO) medical information about COVID-19. The policy specifically excludes posting content that “claims that ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine are effective treatments for COVID-19”.
The YouTube spokesperson said: “We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical disinformation policies, which do not allow content that encourages people to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus.”
Johnson hits YouTube
After the suspension, Johnson attacked YouTube, owned by Google. He said his suspension showed that big tech sites “amassed a lot of inexplicable power.” He added that YouTube and other big companies only follow a media point of view, which is dictated by government agencies.
“The ongoing COVID censorship on YouTube proves that they have amassed a lot of inexplicable power,” he said in a statement. “Big Tech and the mainstream media believe they are smarter than doctors who have dedicated their lives to science and use their skills to save lives. They decided that only a medical point of view is allowed and that is the point of view dictated by government bodies.”
(With AP inputs)