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YouTube removes talkRadio’s channel from its platform

Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent
·2-min read

YouTube has removed the official channel of talkRadio from its platform.

The Google-owned video sharing site has not yet commented on the incident or confirmed the reasons for taking the action.

In a statement posted to Twitter, talkRadio said it was waiting for an explanation from the technology giant, however, there have been reports the takedown may be related to a breach of YouTube rules around coronavirus misinformation.

“We urgently await a detailed response from Google/YouTube about the nature of the breach that has led to our channel being removed from its platform,” the statement said.

“TalkRadio is an Ofcom licensed and regulated broadcaster and has robust editorial controls in place, taking care to balance debate.

“We regularly interrogate government data and we have controls in place, use verifiable sources and give space to a careful selection of voices and opinions.”

The News UK-owned station had used YouTube to live stream shows as well as post clips from its range of programming.

Those attempting to access the talkRadio page on Tuesday were shown the message: “This account has been terminated for violating YouTube’s community guidelines.”

The video platform’s guidelines state that it does not allow “content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) medical information about Covid-19”.

Silkie Carlo, director of civil liberties and digital rights group Big Brother Watch, said: “YouTube’s termination of talkRadio is evidence, if needed, that big tech censorship is out of control.

“This chilling attack on a broadcaster is the type of thing you see in China. It is no coincidence that talkRadio regularly hosts critics of the Government’s mismanagement of the pandemic, nor that the Government is pressuring big tech companies to increase censorship under ‘online harms’ policies. This is an assault on lawful, free expression, it should be urgently reviewed.”

Internet platforms and social media sites have come under increased pressure during the pandemic to better combat the spread of misinformation, particularly false claims and conspiracy theories around the virus itself and the vaccines developed in response to it.

YouTube has previously taken action against other users for rule breaches linked to coronavirus misinformation – including conspiracy theorist David Icke – removing his channel last year for making false claims about the virus.