- YouTube has suspended Senator Ron Johnson’s account for spreading medical misinformation.
- The company specifically prohibits content that contradicts public health guidance.
- The Republican routinely holds Senate hearings where he promotes baseless conspiracy theories.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Senator Ron Johnson has been suspended from YouTube for a week after his account uploaded a video of him spreading medical misinformation, in violation of Google’s detailed policy on the matter.
The conflict is the latest episode of a running feud the Republican from Wisconsin is waging against the video-sharing website, accusing the company of censorship when it enforces its terms of service.
“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 in a statement to Insider. “They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies.”
Johnson, who actively supported the attempted overthrow of the US government in January, has used his position as a senator to promote baseless conspiracy theories and undermine trust in public institutions.
In March, the New York Times dubbed Johnson “the Republican Party’s foremost amplifier of conspiracy theories and disinformation now that Donald Trump himself is banned from social media.”
Last week Facebook’s Oversight Board announced its ban on the former president would remain for two years.
Johnson’s “continuing assault on the truth, often under the guise of simply ‘asking questions’ about established facts, is helping to diminish confidence in American institutions at a perilous moment, when the health and economic well-being of the nation relies heavily on mass vaccinations, and when faith in democracy is shaken by right-wing falsehoods about voting,” Times reporters Trip Gabriel and Reid Epstein wrote.
In his latest video, viewed by the conservative website the Federalist, Johnson promotes two generic drugs for which “there are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use” in treating Covid-19, and that are specifically named in the YouTube policy against treatment misinformation.
In February, he penned an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal saying that he was being silenced when a pair of videos were taken off the platform saying “the censors at YouTube have decided for all of us that the American public shouldn’t be able to hear what senators heard.”
The American public can view those clips on C-SPAN.
Meanwhile in Florida, new legislation will force tech platforms that don’t own amusement parks to host politicians’ accounts, regardless of their truthfulness, or else pay a fine. That rule is expected to go into effect on July 1.