YouTube suspends OANN for a week after it posted fake Covid-19 cure
The logo of video-sharing website YouTube is displayed on a smartphone on November 19, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
Thomas Trutschel | Photothek via Getty Images
YouTube on Tuesday barred One America News Network (OANN) from posting new videos and livestreaming for one week, after the right-leaning media organization uploaded a fake cure for the coronavirus.
“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,” a YouTube spokesperson told CNBC. “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.
It was unclear what specifically OANN’s video said about a Covid-19 cure that made YouTube decide to suspend the channel.
The organization will have to reapply to YouTube’s Partner Program (YPP) if it wants the ability to make money off of its existing content again. YPP is YouTube’s program that connects large YouTube channels with advertisers. YouTube said broadly that companies will only be readmitted after they’ve fixed the issues that led to suspension.
Tuesday’s move marks YouTube’s largest crackdown against OANN. The social media giant has been criticized for allowing OANN to spread misinformation, such as false claims that President Donald Trump won the Presidential election.
Axios first reported on YouTube’s suspension of OANN.
A representative from OANN could not immediately be reached for comment.
DoorDash settles with DC AG over claims it misled users
A DoorDash Inc. delivery person places an order into an insulated bag at Chef Geoff’s restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
DoorDash reached a $2.5 million settlement with the attorney general of the District of Columbia over claims that the company misled consumers on how it would allocate tips for workers, the AG’s office announced Tuesday.
AG Karl Racine sued DoorDash in November 2019 over allegations the company misled customers into believing their tips would directly increase drivers’ pay. Instead, Racine alleged at the time, those tips were used to offset the minimum payment DoorDash promised its workers under the previous tipping model in effect between 2017 and 2019. DoorDash has since revised the policy.
Under the settlement, DoorDash will be required to continue ensuring tips go to workers without reducing their base pay and provide accessible information about its payment model and policies to customers and workers.
The settlement will include $1.5 million in relief to delivery workers, $750,000 to the District and $250,000 to two local charities, according to a press release from the AG’s office.
“Today’s settlement rights a wrong that deceived D.C. consumers and deprived workers of monies that they should have been paid,” Racine said in a statement. “Gig economy companies provide important and necessary services, especially during the pandemic. However, the law applies to these companies, just as it does to their brick and mortar counterparts.”
DoorDash did not immediately provide a comment.
The settlement comes less than two weeks after DoorDash filed its prospectus to go public. DoorDash said in its filing that failing to “cost-effectively attract and retain Dashers” was a significant risk factor to its business.
DoorDash is not the only gig company to have gained attention for its tipping policies. Racine filed suit against grocery delivery company Instacart this summer, claiming it misled customers into thinking an optional service fee went to workers, when it instead went to the company. In a statement at the time, Instacart said it always discloses to customers that tips are separate from service fees and notes that those fees goes toward its operations. It said 100% of customer tips go to workers.
Both companies have been active in pushing back on regulation that would classify their workers as employees rather than contractors. They backed the successful Proposition 22 in California alongside Uber, Lyft and Postmates to keep app-based delivery and transportation workers as independent contractors. Employment status could bring additional costs to the companies.
Senate Democrats ask YouTube CEO to remove election misinformation
Susan Wojicki CEO of YouTube speaking at the 2019 Code Conference on June 10th, 2019 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Asa Mathat | Vox Media
Several senate democrats wrote a letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Monday evening, inquiring about the election misinformation it is still hosting on its platform and demanding that it be removed.
Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Gary Peters of Michigan, Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono, New Jersey’s Robert Menendez and Gary Peters of Michigan wrote the letter, asking the company if it will commit to removing content containing false or misleading information.
The letter outlines the risk of misinformation ahead of a Jan. 5th Georgia runoff races for Senate, which will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate, adding Youtube must “take responsibility” and “immediately stop the spread of misinformation.”
“We write to express our deep concern regarding the proliferation of misinformation on your platform during and immediately following the 2020 elections and in light of the upcoming Georgia run-off elections,” the letter says. “We urge you to immediately remove all election outcome misinformation and take aggressive steps to implement prohibitions, as other social media companies have done, regarding outcomes in future elections.”
While the letter may not result in any material action, it comes as Google-owned YouTube has escaped the bulk of criticism surrounding misinformation relative to social media platforms Twitter and Facebook.
However, in recent weeks, YouTube has faced backlash and national attention after hosting videos that make unsubstantiated claims that Donald Trump won and that Democrats are committing voter fraud against Republican ballots, despite the company admitting itself the videos are “demonstrably false” and “undermines confidence in elections.”
The company’s answer has been to remove advertising and demote the videos in rankings, but it has failed to enforced it consistently, resulting in videos with misinformation going viral across the internet.
In response to the letter from the Senate Democrats, a YouTube spokesperson said the most popular election videos on the site come from “authoritative news organizations.” The spokesperson also said it removes videos that violate its policies. But the spokesperson also said the company allows videos that discuss the outcome of the election and the vote-counting process.
“Like other companies, we allow discussions of this election’s results and the process of counting votes, and are continuing to closely monitor new developments,” the YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.
In their letter, the senators gave an example of a YouTube video claiming evidence of voter fraud in Michigan that was viewed more than 5 million views, despite any evidence of such fraud.
“These videos seek to undermine our democracy and cast doubt on the legitimacy of President-elect Biden’s incoming administration,” the letter stated. “Moreover, because the current president has not committed to a peaceful transition of power, misinformation and manipulated media content on your platform may fuel civil unrest.”
The letter continues, asking YouTube what steps it’s taking to make sure the platform doesn’t suppress votes, incite violence or make false claims about ballots. It also asks YouTube for data on videos spreading misinformation as well as to quantify the revenue it has received from hosting election result misinformation.
The senators asked for a response to questions by Dec. 8.