YouTube temporarily suspended Sky News Australia's YouTube account due to its policies on COVID-19 misinformation. Sky News is basically Fox News Australia's equivalent, so it is not surprising that YouTube has temporarily suspended Sky News Australia's account. However, this milestone is one that neither Fox nor Sky have reached.
Sky News Australia suspended its uploads for one week on July 29th. This is a major problem for the publication, not to be confused with Sky News UK which has 1.86million subscribers. YouTube accounted for half the digital reach of Sky News Australia as of December 2013.
Mashable was informed by a YouTube spokesperson that they have COVID-19 medical misinformation policies. These policies are based on guidance from local and international health authorities. They were established to stop the spread of COVID-19 misinformation which could cause real-world harm. "We apply our policies equally to everyone regardless of uploader. In accordance with these policies, and our long-standing strikes systems, we removed videos from and issued strike to Sky News Australias channel."
YouTube's COVID-19 medical information policy bans content that spreads misinformation about medical conditions or contradicts the guidance of health authorities. Videos that deny the existence of COVID-19 are most obvious, but it also includes misinformation regarding treatment, prevention, diagnosis and transmission.
While YouTube explicitly states that it does not allow "claims that Hydroxychloroquine can be used to treat COVID-19", Mashable was still able to find at least one Sky News Australia video promoting this false claim. Mashable reached out to YouTube for more information.
Sky News Australia shared their YouTube ban in an article/statement that they published on their website. This was later shared with Mashable.
The statement stated that Sky News Australia strongly rejects the notion that any host would deny the existence of COVID-19. No such videos have been published or taken down."
The publication didn't comment on other violations covered by YouTube’s policy that fall below outright COVID-19 denial.
The channel will not be fully in the clear even after its one-week suspension is over. Sky News Australia may be subject to a second suspension under YouTube's three strikes system. This is if it wins a second strike within the same period as its first. If it receives a third strike in that time period, the channel will be permanently deleted.
This may not seem like a problem considering that Sky News Australia was suspended so long ago.