YouTube censored and suspended the channel of independent journalist Alison Morrow after she posted a video highlighting several examples of the mainstream media violating the “medical misinformation” rules that are regularly used by the tech giant to punish independent creators on the platform.
After facing mounting backlash over the decision, YouTube reinstated the video.
In the now reinstated video, which is titled “Corporate news can break YouTube’s rules” and features Matt Orfalea (an independent video producer who was recently censored by YouTube for highlighting YouTube censorship), Morrow highlighted two examples of corporate news channels violating YouTube’s medical misinformation policy.
The first example showed a February 2020 clip from the NBC News YouTube channel where one of the presenters states: “Experts caution, masks are not always the answer.” Another presenter states: “If you’re sick or somebody in the family’s sick, then doctors say the mask is an effective way to prevent that virus from spreading, but in a public place, not so much.”
The second example showed a March 2020 clip from the CNN YouTube channel where its Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses the coronavirus and says “there’s some solace in this idea that the vast majority of people aren’t going to get sick from this” and “this is reminding people, I think a little bit, of, of, just flu in general.”
Morrow noted that both of these corporate news clips violate YouTube’s current medical “misinformation” policy but have not been removed with the first clip violating the rule that prohibits claims “claims that masks do not play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19” and the second clip violating the rule that prohibits “claims that the symptoms, death rates, or contagiousness of COVID-19 are less severe or equally as severe as the common cold or seasonal flu.”
She also emphasized that YouTube’s medical misinformation policy is antithetical to the purpose of both science and journalism:
“How is science not always going to be medical misinformation, if science is the very practice of discovering new things? It’s just impossible to do science on YouTube or journalism for that matter. You can’t really do journalism on YouTube unless you’re a corporate entity because obviously journalism is also about questioning narratives and proposing new ideas and you can’t do that if the community guidelines are all about protecting the status quo.”
Morrow then suggested that the purpose of YouTube’s medical misinformation policy is to create “a cast of safe characters that are basically part of the same corporate class as YouTube” and notes that “you could even be saying the exact same thing the corporate news is saying” and still “face the consequences that they are not going to face.”