YouTube suspended Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot Senate passes long-delayed China bill Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack MORE (R-Wis.) from posting videos on the platform for one week over his remarks touting unproven treatments for COVID-19.
The platform said it also removed a video from Johnson in line with its policies against COVID-19 misinformation. The video had highlighted Johnson’s remarks from a hearing where he discussed experimental treatments for COVID-19 like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
“We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies, which don’t allow content that encourages people to use Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Hill.
A YouTube blog post explaining the policy says the platform will not promote content that “contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19,” and YouTube told The Hill it does not allow any information that it says risks harming people.
YouTube also noted that it has a policy of removing content from any user and has a longstanding three strikes policy.
The video that was taken down showed Johnson tearing into the Biden administration over its response to the pandemic and touting the two drugs, which are unproven as treatments for the virus.
“It always baffled me that there was such a concerted effort to deny the American public the type of robust exploration research into early treatment early in this pandemic,” Johnson said before calling ivermectin annd hydroxychloroquine “incredibly safe.”
Johnson tore into YouTube’s decision on Friday, casting it as emblematic of “Big Tech’s” power.
“YouTube’s ongoing Covid censorship proves they have accumulated too much unaccountable power. Big Tech and mainstream media believe they are smarter than medical doctors who have devoted their lives to science and use their skills to save lives. They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies,” he said in a statement.
“How many lives will be lost as a result? How many lives could have been saved with a free exchange of medical ideas? Government-sanctioned censorship of ideas and speech should concern us all.”
Hydroxychloroquine first gained prominence when then-President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ seized House Democrats’ data from Apple Iowa governor questions lack of notice on migrant children flights to Des Moines Senate confirms first Muslim American federal judge MORE touted the unproven drug in 2020 as an effective tool to fight the coronavirus. He later said he took the drug when he contracted the illness himself.