YouTube has reportedly suspended Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) for one week after his account uploaded a video that was found to have violated Google’s policy regarding medical misinformation.
“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 said in a statement, according to NBC News.
In YouTube’s detailed “COVID-19 medical misinformation policy,” the Big Tech giant declares that it “doesn’t allow content about COVID-19 that poses a serious risk of egregious harm.”
“YouTube doesn’t allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19,” YouTube continued. According to its guidelines, this is limited to content that contradicts WHO or local health authorities’ guidance on treatment, prevention, diagnosis, transmission, social distancing and self isolation guidelines, or the existence of COVID-19.
According to The Federalist, in the allegedly offending video, Johnson was criticizing both the Trump and Biden administrations for “not only ignoring but working against robust research [on] the use of cheap, generic drugs to be repurposed for early treatment of COVID.”
“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, according to The Federalist, claiming that some studies have shown that “both Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin” are “incredibly safe” drugs.
YouTube’s policies specifically reference the drugs discussed by Johnson, directing users not to post content on YouTube if it includes “Content that recommends use of Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19” or “Claims that Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine are effective treatments for COVID-19.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) currently advises against the use of Hydroxychloroquine, saying that a study “shows treatment does no harm, but provides no benefit.” Meanwhile, the NIH has stated that “There are insufficient data for the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.”
The World Health Organization also advises against Hydroxychloroquine.
“WHO does not recommend hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19. This recommendation is based on six trials with more than 6000 participants who did not have COVID-19 and received hydroxychloroquine,” wrote the WHO in April 2021. “Using hydroxychloroquine for prevention had little or no effect on preventing illness, hospitalization or death from COVID-19. Taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19 may increase the risk of diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, drowsiness and headache.”
In a statement, Johnson’s office slammed YouTube for their actions.
“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,” Johnson said. “They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies. 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.”
The news comes as an observational study, published by medRxiv, found that “antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, along with zinc, could increase the coronavirus survival rate by as much as nearly 200% if distributed at higher doses to ventilated patients with a severe version of the illness,” according to Yahoo! News.