YouTube permanently banned a well-known anti-abortion group after spreading false COVID-19 info

YouTube permanently banned a well-known anti-abortion group after spreading false COVID-19 info

As Americans finally receive their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, conspiracy theories and other false information still continues. Since the start of the pandemic, some organizations have been pushing the spread of misinformation calling the novel coronavirus a hoax, this trend continues with organizations questioning the vaccine and the effects it will have on humans.

In efforts to stop the spread of misinformation causing fear amongst Americans, tech companies are banning groups that spread false information on their platforms. In a recent incident, YouTube banned a popular anti-abortion channel for spreading COVID-19 conspiracy theories, according to VICE News. As a result of the ban, YouTube removed all of the LifeSiteNews videos including a video that depicted a doctor alleging that COVID-19 was “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public.”

LifeSiteNews is an anti-abortion outlet. According to its website, it’s the “#1 pro-life news website,” and “emphasizes the social worth of traditional Judeo-Christian principle” including claims that “abortion, euthanasia, cloning, homosexuality and all other moral, life and family issues are all interconnected in an international conflict.” Prior to the ban it had more than 300,000 followers on its channel. “YouTube just completely removed the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel. This isn’t a temporary ban; every single one of our videos is completely gone,” the website noted after the ban. “Thankfully, we have backups of all our videos, but this means hundreds of thousands of people have lost access to our truth-telling content.”

Despite its consistent spread of misinformation and baseless conspiracy theories, the site maintained that it was speaking the “truth.”

“The truth is, we’ve been anticipating this for some time. YouTube and other tech titans are simply not interested in allowing anyone to dissent from their state-approved, liberal, totalitarian ideology. Fortunately, we’ve already taken pre-emptive measures to ensure the truth will continue to reach the ears of those most in need of it in these dictatorial times.” LifeSite’s Marketing Director Rebekah Roberts said in a statement to CBN News. “We are active on various other platforms like Gab, Telegram, and Rumble, and encourage others to join us there.”

According to Ivy Choi, a spokesperson for Youtube, multiple videos on LifeSiteNews’ channel were tagged with a “medical misinformation” stamp before the ban and the website was issued multiple warnings.

“In accordance with our longstanding strikes system, we terminated the channel LifeSiteNews Media for repeatedly violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content that promotes prevention methods that contradict local health authorities or WHO,” Choi told VICE News. “Any channel that violates our COVID-19 misinformation policy will receive a strike, which temporarily restricts uploading or live-streaming. Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from YouTube.”

Per YouTube’s medical misinformation policy people who post information that contradicts official medical guidance on the treatment, prevention, diagnosis, and transmission of COVID-19 are banned. That includes “claims that an approved COVID-19 vaccine will contain substances that are not on the vaccine ingredient list, such as fetal tissue.”

In multiple videos, LifeSiteNews called the novel coronavirus a hoax and featured a doctor that called both masks and social distancing “useless’ efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Of course, these allegations are false and research has consistently proved that masks do significantly stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to spreading false information on safety precautions recommended by health officials to stop the spread of the virus, LifeSiteNews created false links between abortion and the coronavirus vaccine.  

“In response to this small sliver of accountability, we fully expect LifeSiteNews to falsely cry censorship and then attack YouTube itself. This is a key facet of the anti-choice playbook that we have seen time and time again,” NARAL Pro-Choice America Research Director Dina Montemarano told VICE News in an email. “We must call this out in the strongest terms possible, and continue to hold both extremists and online platforms accountable for allowing anti-choice and white supremacist disinformation and extremism to flourish.”

Despite its ban, LifeSiteNews is continuing to advertise its claims and plans to host a virtual conference called: “Unmasking COVID-19.” According to VICE News, it promises to explain how aborted fetal cells are used in the vaccine.

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