YouTube ejects several videos of Jair Bolsonaro on the coronavirus

YouTube has decided to remove several videos uploaded to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel. The platform explains that they contained incorrect information about the coronavirus.

Donald Trump was not the only sitting president to rub shoulders with YouTube moderation. Much further south of the continent, another head of state has also been deprived of certain videos published on his official channel. This is Jair Bolsonaro, this former army captain who later embraced a political career. She took him to power in Brazil in January 2019.

The BBC reports in its edition of July 22, 2021 that the American platform has removed several videos published on the account of the Brazilian president. Quoted by the British channel, the newspaper O Globo indicates that moderation has withdrawn no less than fifteen publications, explaining having done so because they conveyed erroneous information on the health crisis and the means to fight against the coronavirus.

Jair Bolsonaro YT
The home page of Jair Bolsonaro’s YouTube channel.

The videos in question do not necessarily feature Jair Bolsonaro: in the two examples given, other people are on the screen. The first is a former Minister of Health under President Bolsonaro who compared Covid-19 to AIDS. In the second, it is a doctor pleading for hydroxychloroquine, a treatment that has not been shown to be effective against the coronavirus.

This is not the first time that Jair Bolsonaro has come up against the rules of digital platforms. In 2020, videos had already been withdrawn, on Twitter and Facebook this time. The head of state had treated with condescension the health recommendations, in particular in terms of physical distancing to avoid too strong a spread of the virus.

The point is that the crisis management by Jair Bolsonaro’s government is highly controversial. The person concerned alienated many officials of the Brazilian medical profession and aroused a lot of resentment among the population. The country is today one of the most affected by the pandemic. There are more than 545,000 dead in the country, 722,000 sick and nearly 19.5 million people who have been infected.

Rules adjusted as the pandemic progresses

Platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have, over the course of the pandemic, adjusted their terms of use on several occasions, to warn their users of content and comments that deviate from the recommendations of recognized authorities in terms of public health. The effectiveness of these rules and their correct application are still under discussion.

For example, in February 2020, the platform set up instructions about the monetization of videos dealing with the coronavirus. A few months later, she also focused on information from recognized sources. It also communicates from time to time on its efforts to remove contentious videos, although hiccups are regularly documented.

YouTube is a platform that is also used to disseminate disinformation, a phenomenon that the platform tries to stem. // Source: Kon Karampelas / Unplash

Before Jair Bolsonaro, Donald Trump was also confronted with the moderation of the giants of the net. Twitter and Facebook, for example, intervened to hide a comparison he had made between the coronavirus and the flu, in 2020. He also been moderated by YouTube on an entirely different subject, that of disinformation around the conduct of the election in the United States. Other measures then followed.

Jair Bolsonaro’s channel was launched in June 2009 and today has more than 3.44 million subscribers. She has accumulated over 240 million views and has hundreds of videos. It still includes many videos relating to the coronavirus and the management of the health crisis in Brazil, featuring it or giving the floor to various speakers.

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