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Photo: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

YouTube has barred One America News Network from posting new videos for a week and stripped it of its ability to make money off existing content after the Trump-friendly channel uploaded a video promoting a phony cure for COVID-19, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi tells Axios.

Why it matters: YouTube has been criticized for allowing OANN to spread misinformation using its platform, particularly around coronavirus and the election. This marks the Google-owned service's first crackdown against OANN.

Details: OANN's one-week suspension from posting new videos or livestreams is the result of a "strike" YouTube issued for violating its COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits saying there is a guaranteed cure to the virus. YouTube took down the video that triggered the strike.

  • OANN is also suspended from the YouTube Partner Program, which means if it wants to monetize its videos again, it will have to re-apply.
  • YouTube has a three-strikes policy before an account is terminated. This is OANN's first strike, but it has violated the platform's COVID-19 misinformation policy before, meaning it gets no more warnings if it breaks the rules again — just additional strikes.
  • YouTube says it does not consider OANN an authoritative news source.

The big picture: YouTube, like other platforms, has grown more willing to take action against conservative-leaning accounts that spread misinformation. It has also been trying to provide greater visibility to legitimate news outlets.

  • A quartet of Democratic senators sent a letter Tuesday to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki pressing her company to do more to stem the tide of election misinformation.
  • Posting videos that make false claims about election results isn't against YouTube's rules.

The other side: Trump and his allies have urged followers to tune into alternative news sources such as OANN and Newsmax that have questioned Joe Biden's victory, eschewing Fox News, which they feel has gone soft.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Big Tech scrambles to prevent inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech companies are scrambling to take action to prevent Inauguration Day violence, taking matters into their own hands after the government was caught ill-prepared for last week's Capitol siege.

What's happening: Major firms are taking a range of steps to stop their platforms from being used to plan, incite or carry out violent acts in Washington, D.C.

Jan 13, 2021 - Technology

Scoop: Google pausing all political ads following Capitol siege

Members of the U.S. National Guard arrive at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 12. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Google informed its advertising partners Wednesday that beginning Jan. 14, its platforms will block all political ads, as well as any related to the Capitol insurrection, "following the unprecedented events of the past week and ahead of the upcoming presidential inauguration," according to an email obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: Political ad bans are designed to curb confusion and misinformation surrounding highly sensitive events. Google says a limited version of its "sensitive event" policies went into effect after the violent events in the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.