YouTube has blocked Sen. Ron Johnson for 7 days after it removed a video of him spreading coronavirus misinformation

YouTube has blocked Sen. Ron Johnson for 7 days after it removed a video of him spreading coronavirus misinformation
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) speaks to reporters and tells them why he is against a January 6 commission.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • YouTube has suspended Sen. 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.

Sen. 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 that the Wisconsin Republican 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."

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

Johnson, who promoted the "Big Lie" that led to the assault on the US Capitol 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 that its ban on the former president's account 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," wrote Trip Gabriel and Reid Epstein in The Times.

In his latest video, viewed by the conservative website The Federalist, Johnson promoted 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, Johnson penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in which he said he was being silenced when a pair of videos were taken off the platform: "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 is set to force tech platforms that don't own amusement parks to host politicians' accounts, regardless of their truthfulness, or pay a fine. That rule is expected to go into effect on July 1.