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Fox News host Dan Bongino suspended on YouTube over COVID-19 misinformation | Engadget

Fox News host and right-wing commentator Dan Bongino won’t be able to upload anything to his YouTube channel for a week, according to Forbes and The Hill. The website has temporarily suspended his account over COVID-19 misinformation, specifically for saying masks are useless in preventing the coronavirus’ spread. YouTube updated its rules in 2020 to prohibit “content about COVID-19 that poses a serious risk of egregious harm.” It doesn’t permit videos with medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities, such as the World Health Organization. 

The organization considers wearing masks “a key measure to reduce transmission and save lives.” That’s why YouTube explicitly states that videos containing claims that wearing masks have negative side effects and that they don’t play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19 go against its policy. The website has suspended several creators for COVID-19 disinformation in the past, including Sky News Australia, One American News Network and Senator Rand Paul.

Bongino is only getting a week-long suspension, because it’s his first strike under the policy. If he gets another strike within 90 days, he’ll get another two-week suspension. His channel will only be removed if he gets a third strike within three months. In addition to suspending his uploads, YouTube has also demonetized his channel for “repeatedly violating [its] Advertiser-Friendly Guidelines on harmful and dangerous acts.” He will, however, be able to re-apply for the Partner Program after 30 days. 

That said, it looks like Bongino has plans to keep on breaking YouTube’s COVID-19 rules. The Bongino Report website’s Twitter account posted a copy of his email to YouTube, which tells the customer service rep that he will “immediately post content on why masks have been totally ineffective in stopping this pandemic” after his suspension is over. He dared YouTube to do something about it. Bongino also called the website (and, by extension, Google) a “tyrannical, free speech-hating, bullshit, big tech shithole.”

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