YouTube removes German YouTube channels from RT after COVID disinformation strike

The video-sharing platform YouTube on Tuesday removed German-language channels from Russian state-backed broadcaster RT, saying it violated its COVID disinformation policy.

“YouTube has always had clear community guidelines that describe what is allowed on the platform,” a YouTube spokesperson told DW.

Initially, the German channel RT received a warning for uploading content that violated YouTube’s COVID disinformation policy, resulting in a week-long publication ban.

RT then used a second channel, “Der Fehlende Part”, – which translates to “the missing part” in German – to escape the suspension.

RT DE [the name for RT in Germany] “Tried to bypass the app by using another channel, and as a result, both channels were closed for violating YouTube’s 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”.

How did Russia react?

Roskomnadzor, the Russian federal executive agency responsible for overseeing mass media in the country, sent a letter to Google, asking it to remove all restrictions on RT DE and DFP channels. He also called on the company to explain the reasons for the implementation of the ban, the agency’s press service said.

Google faces a fine of up to 1 million rubles if it refuses to unblock RT’s YouTube channels, Roskomnadzor said.

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT, responded to the ban in a tweet:

“This is a real media war declared by the German state against the Russian state,” she said.

She then called on the Russian state to respond by banning German state media, including DW.

YouTube is owned by US tech conglomerate Alphabet Inc, which also owns Google.

What is YouTube’s COVID disinformation policy?

YouTube says it “does not allow content on COVID-19 that poses a serious risk of gross harm.”

Additionally, YouTube says it does not allow content that disseminates false medical information that “contradicts local health authorities” or World Health Organization (WHO) medical information on COVID-19. “

This is limited to guidelines from the WHO or local health authorities on treatment, prevention, diagnosis, transmission, social distancing and self-isolation guidelines, as well as anything that contradicts the existence of COVID. -19, says YouTube.