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YouTube Removes RT’s German Channels Over Covid-19 Misinformation

October 11th, 2021 14:00

Ger­man media report­ed last week that YouTube has blocked Russ­ian state-fund­ed RT’s Ger­man YouTube chan­nels over Covid-19 mis­in­for­ma­tion. Accord­ing to a DW report:

Sep­tem­ber 28, 2021 Video-shar­ing plat­form YouTube delet­ed Russ­ian state-backed broad­cast­er RT’s Ger­man-lan­guage chan­nels on Tues­day, say­ing it had vio­lat­ed its COVID mis­in­for­ma­tion pol­i­cy.  “YouTube has always had clear com­mu­ni­ty guide­lines that out­line what is allowed on the plat­form,” a YouTube spokesper­son told DW.  Ini­tial­ly RT’s Ger­man chan­nel was issued a strike for upload­ing con­tent that breached YouTube’s COVID mis­in­for­ma­tion pol­i­cy, result­ing in a week-long post­ing ban.  RT then used a sec­ond chan­nel, “Der Fehlende Part,” — which trans­lates to “the miss­ing part” in Ger­man — to evade the sus­pen­sion.   RT DE [the name for RT in Ger­many] “tried to cir­cum­vent the enforce­ment by using anoth­er chan­nel, and as a result both chan­nels were ter­mi­nat­ed for break­ing YouTube Terms of Ser­vice,” the spokesper­son said.  YouTube added that it is against its terms of ser­vice to “use anoth­er chan­nel in an attempt to cir­cum­vent the sus­pen­sion of one chan­nel by activ­i­ty on another.”

Read the rest here.

Fol­low­ing the sus­pen­sion of RT’s Ger­man YouTube chan­nels, Ger­man far-right and far-left law­mak­ers – whose par­ties have been sup­port­ed by Russ­ian state media – harsh­ly crit­i­cized YouTube’s con­duct. Accord­ing to anoth­er DW report:

Octo­ber 1, 2021 Mar­tin Ren­ner, a mem­ber of Ger­many’s far-right AfD who spe­cial­izes in media affairs, views the mat­ter rather dif­fer­ent­ly — his par­ty, after all, main­tains close ties to the Krem­lin. Speak­ing to DW, Ren­ner said YouTube’s con­duct was “utter­ly improp­er.” He believes it shows gov­ern­men­tal deci­sions are being “del­e­gat­ed to pri­vate com­pa­nies.” He said the affair is “ulti­mate­ly about the ques­tion of free­dom of speech and press free­dom, and I feel this [step] severe­ly infringes on press free­dom.” He said the threats of retal­i­a­tion by Rus­sia were the result of “mis­guid­ed poli­cies ini­ti­at­ed and con­duct­ed by Germany.”

Sevim Dagde­len, a Left Par­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the par­lia­men­tary For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee, said it was fright­en­ing to see how “US oli­garchs are decid­ing which news reports can be received in Ger­many and which ones can’t.” She went on to say that any­one fail­ing to be out­raged by the “polit­i­cal­ly arbi­trary actions of the Google sub­sidiary YouTube can­not cred­i­bly crit­i­cize cen­sor­ship in oth­er coun­tries.” Accord­ing to the law­mak­er, hav­ing pri­vate US cor­po­ra­tions block news reports on the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic that they con­sid­er unde­sir­able con­sti­tutes a major breach of press freedom.

Read the rest here.