U.S. Senator Ron Johnson calls out YouTube for its ‘troubling track record’ of censorship

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U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), a frequent critic of Big Tech, sent letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki demanding information on the social media company’s “troubling track record” of censorship of videos critical of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Johnson, whose account was twice suspended from posting videos on the platform, called on Wojcicki to provide documents and emails regarding his suspensions and details on how YouTube’s COVID misinformation policy was formed. 

“In the hearing, Mr. Mohan testified that YouTube ‘worked with third party health authorities, in this country that did include the CDC and FDA’ to create the company’s policies surrounding COVID-19 misinformation,” Johnson began, referring to Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer who testified before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“These policies appear to have led to the repeated censorship of me, proceedings before the United States Senate, and news media. I write to request information and material concerning the development and implementation of YouTube’s content moderation policies,” he stated. 

“Your company has suspended me twice for advocating for the early treatment of COVID-19, opposing vaccine mandates for children and workers, and advocating for the vaccine injured,” he added. 

In June 2021, YouTube suspended Johnson’s channel for a week for suggesting that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin could be potentially effective treatments for COVID. YouTube placed a ban on either drugs as “effective treatments for COVID-19” at the time under its medical misinformation policy.

He was later suspended again last November for posting a video going over statistics from the Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS).

Further in the letter, Johnson asked why President Biden wasn’t held to account by the policy that saw his account suspended twice when Biden said on July 21, 2021 that “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” and that “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in an ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.”

“There is no doubt that these two statements are false. I asked Mr. Mohan and the witnesses from the other social media companies whether your companies ever flagged President Biden as a spreader of misinformation. No one even attempted to answer my question,” he noted.

“YouTube has displayed a troubling track record of censoring a sitting United States Senator, the proceedings of the United States Senate, journalists that interview me, and the display of data that is entirely generated from U.S. government health agencies,” Johnson wrote. 

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