Tech World

YouTube bars Sky News Australia from uploading new videos over Covid-19 misinformation

YouTube barred Sky News Australia from uploading new content for a week for breaching rules on spreading Covid-19 misinformation.

It issued a “strike” under its three-strike policy, the last of which means permanent removal.

YouTube did not point to specific items but said it opposed material that “could cause real-world harm”.

The TV channel’s digital editor said the decision was a disturbing attack on the ability to think freely.

Sky News Australia is owned by a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and has 1.85 million YouTube subscribers.

YouTube in a statement said: “clear and established Covid-19 medical misinformation policies based on local and global health authority guidance”.

A spokesperson told the Guardian that it “did not allow content that denies the existence of Covid-19” or which encouraged people “to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus”. Neither has been proven to be effective against Covid.

Sky News Australia said it had found old videos that did not comply with YouTube’s policies and took its “commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously”.

Millions of Australians are currently in lockdown to prevent the spread of the contagious Delta variant, while fewer than 15% of the population are fully vaccinated.

YouTube has issued dozens of bans over the past two years, several over Covid but most for hate speech.