Natural News Back on YouTube After Ban

Natural News is Back

Previously, YouTube banned Natural News. Now, their official channel (The Health Ranger) has been reinstated.

However, statistics show that the channel lost over 4 000 subscribers and over 10 million videos views after getting reinstated. This could indicate that something shady was going on. In contrast, Mike Adams blames government mind control and the alleged LGBT mafia for getting his channel banned. In reality, he violated the YouTube Community Guidelines.

Natural News is one of the leading quackery websites on the Internet. They push a wide range of pseudoscientific claims and fake treatments. Materials that have appeared on Natural News include germ theory denial, rejection of climate science, hating on vaccines and even comparing water fluoridation to lead poisoning.

Sometimes, they even push mutually contradictory claims and conspiracy theories. They spread evidence-free fears about genetically modified foods while selling shady supplements that contain GMOs or products isolated from GMOs. They claim that the Zika virus does not exist while at the same time as they advertise fake treatments for it. Another classic Natural News trope is to claim that ADHD does not exist and that it is caused by water fluoridation. The website feature many contradictory pseudoscientific claims to appeal to as many different quackery proponents as possible.

The Natural News website is part of a larger network of misinformation websites run by Mike Adams. Adams has denied that HIV causes AIDS and has made the false claim that doctors are deadlier than guns. On the Natural News website, there are articles encouraging staring directly into the sun and nonsense about the seasonal influenza vaccine. Examples of even more batshit claims can be found here.

In February of 2017, Natural News disappeared from Google search results under what was initially unclear circumstances. It was later revealed by Google that Natural News had sneaky mobile redirects on their websites that violated the Google Webmaster rules. After they fixed the problem, they were against found in Google search results. However, this made Mike Adams furious and he claimed that Google was after him and wanted to ruin him. He energized his followers and probably benefited from it in terms of attention and income. However, about 10-30% of traffic to Natural News comes from search engines, so it may have had an impact on ad revenue.

Natural News banned from YouTube

Natural News has an official YouTube channel called The Health Ranger. Before the ban, this account had close to 1700 videos. It got a strike near the end of February 2018 for a video with a Sandy Hook truther who claimed that no one died during that school shooting. The Health Ranger account was completely terminated on March 3 and thus Natural News was banned from YouTube. We do not know why this happened in any great detail, but we do know that Adams posted several videos about the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that more or less repeated claims from the conspiracy swamp. YouTube has terminated accounts for violations similar to this before.

Like before, Mike Adams decided that this was part of the conspiracy against him and his content. He spread multiple conspiracy theories about why this happened. First, he claims to have been banned by the “LGBT mafia” for claiming there are only two genders. Then he thought we was banned because he was against gun control. Finally, he stated that the Natural News account was banned for warning people about the government’s alleged mind control agenda. This apparently involves chemtrails and geoengineering, but it is unclear exactly how Adams thinks all of this is related.

In response to the ban, he made his own video hosting website called REAL.video that would allow content deemed unacceptable by YouTube. He also had a backup account at the YouTube competitor Vimeo where he uploaded all of his videos.

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Adams’s strange rant about “LGBT mafia” and “mind control”

Before we look at the most recent development, let us look closer at his claims about an LGBT mafia and government mind control.

On March 14, Adams posted the article “THOUGHT POLICE: YouTube to start ‘correcting’ controversial videos with ‘facts’ from discredited Wikipedia pages run by disinfo trolls”. In it, he thinks that his ban on YouTube is related to government mind control:

Despite the inescapable truth on these matters (and many more), according to the thought control police at YouTube and Wikipedia, chemtrails are a “conspiracy theory” that needs to be corrected, just to make sure nobody actually believes it’s happening (even though it is).

This move by YouTube smacks of total desperation, and it follows in the footsteps of YouTube outright banning the entire Health Ranger channel in a last-ditch effort to silence rising voices that are warning humanity about the very same mind control agenda being demonstrated every day by YouTube itself.

Quite literally, YouTube will ban accounts by claiming those content creators are promoting “conspiracy theories” that claim YouTube is censoring accounts. Seriously, this is how insane things have become now as the techno-dictatorships are running wild, crushing not just the freedom to speak, but also the freedom to think.

Basically, YouTube is working on different technical solution to combating fake news and conspiracy theories. This includes adding information from Wikipedia to the video view of videos pushing misinformation. In one example delivered at the 2018 SXSW conference, a link and a preview of the Wikipedia article about the Moon Landing appears below a video pushing Moon landing conspiracy theories. Adams interprets this as somehow being akin to some sort of government mind control by a techno-dictatorship gone amok. In reality, “chemtrails” do not exist. Those white lines after airplanes (called contrails) are condensation strips caused by water condensing around different kind of airplane exhaust, such as soot particles and other pollutants.

Adding a Wikipedia link to combat conspiracy theories, pseudoscience and other forms of misinformation is not a form of censorship. It is not a violation of free speech and it is certainly not a violation of your freedom to think. Freedom of speech means that the government cannot arrest you for your speech except in rare exceptions. It does not mean that you are allowed to stand unopposed. It does not mean freedom from criticism or freedom from consequences. Furthermore, YouTube is not the government. Being immune to moderation after you have broken the rules on a social media website is not a human right. Pseudoscience activists often abuse concepts like freedom of speech and health freedom to push their misinformation.

The unhinged rant about a supposed “LGBT mafia” appeared a few days later in a post on March 13. He develops his conspiracy theory about the supposed “LGBT mafia” behind the ban:

In the last few days, I was told by an individual who claimed to be a YouTube insider that my channel was terminated because I claimed there were only two genders.

It wasn’t the politics or liberty-oriented content that resulted in a termination, I was told: It was my unwillingness to bow down and lick the boots of the LGBT mafia, which has increasingly become a totalitarian mob of thought police and victimology experts who are now trying to memory hole genetic science and biological reality.

Any person who claims that children are born as either male or female — rather than the “undecided” status the LGBT cultists demand — is deemed an intolerant bigot. Yes, merely quoting biological reality is now enough to make you an enemy of the deranged, lunatic Left (which now saturates the twisted culture of YouTube and Google).

Adams does not provide any evidence whatsoever that YouTube banned the channel because Adams claimed that there were only two genders. He merely cites a person, who in turn claims to be a “YouTube insider” that this is the case. In other words, Mike Adams has probably no idea if this person even works at YouTube and no to verify that this was indeed the reason (this article presents a plausible reason below).

As for the conspiracy theory, Mike Adams confuses several things. First, there is no evidence that there exists an “LGBT mafia” or that this was somehow infiltrated the YouTube company. Second, Adams confuses biological sex with legal gender (the letter on your passport or in other government papers). These are not the same concepts. Biological sex is not assigned out of nowhere when a person is born, but legal gender is assigned. It is written on a piece of paper or entered into a computerized record. Finally, while many people are born with typical male or female features (gene regions, chromosomes, hormones, hormone receptors, gonads, external genitals etc.) there are exceptions on all levels.

On March 20, Adams posted another article on his Natural News blog entitled “15 completely insane things about babies, biology, race and genetics that delusional ‘progressives’ actually believe”. It was a hateful and angry rant where he regurgitated some of the stereotypes and misinformation about things like gender equality and LGBT issues. He even went so far as to push race pseudoscience on his readers. The article feature a white and purple unicorn image with a rainbow background.

In the article, he makes the following astonishing claim:

Below, I’ve collected just a few real examples of the sheer delusion of the progressive Left and its LGBT mafia, which now demands the outright censorship of all “non-believers” and uses bullying tactics to label anyone a “hate group” if they don’t surrender to their insanity. My entire YouTube account, I’ve recently learned, was terminated by YouTube because I stated there are only two genders. Yes, merely questioning the outright lunacy of the LGBT narrative now gets you censored and banned by Google. If this insanity continues, soon stating something like “only women can get pregnant” will become a criminal offense and land you in prison.

Adams claims that the Health Ranger YouTube account was terminated because he claimed that “there are only two genders”. He does not provide any evidence of this, but merely asserts it. He wants his readers to take his word for it. Adams does not provide any evidence that there is any such thing as a LGBT mafia. In his larger rant, he makes a number of errors, including confusing biological sex with legal sex and falsely claim that transgender people can change their gender by merely wishing for it. He even calls Bill Nye a “libtard”.

Mike Adams brings in the lawyers

Pushing yet more conspiracy theories about Google and YouTube about his channel being terminated was not enough. In an article called “Health Ranger lawyers issue demand to YouTube: Show justification for termination or reinstate video channel” published on March 13, Adams told his readers that he is sending in the lawyers:

Today, my legal team has issued a demand letter to YouTube, seeking justification for why the channel was banned and demanding the channel be restored. When YouTube terminates your channel and memory holes all your videos, they provide no evidence whatsoever to justify their decision. They don’t name a video that was in violation, and they have no process for appealing the decision or defending yourself against false accusations.

Did it have any effect? Right now, we do not know. However, changes to the status of the channel came about a month later.

Natural News back on YouTube

On or some time before April 11, the Health Ranger YouTube channel was reinstated. Adams claims in the post “YouTube restores Health Ranger video channel without explanation as tech giants feel the heat from censorship backlash” that YouTube did not offer him any explanation.

He further claims that YouTube took away almost 100 000 subscribers from his channel. However, this is wildly inaccurate. A quick glance at the Social Blade website page for the channel that has statistics on YouTube accounts, traffic and potential earnings shows that The Health Ranger channel had an estimated 256 736 subscribers on March 2 and an estimated 252 869 subscribers on April 10. On April 10, the subscriber count went down with 4 323. Even more peculiar, the channel got an estimated 10 376 282 video views remove on April 12. This amounts to an estimated earning of – 2 600 to -41 500 USD. In other words, this amount of earnings was removed from the account.

One tantalizing speculation is that those 4 323 accounts were bot accounts that boosted video views on the channel by over 10 million, but YouTube caught on to it. They terminated the channel, banned the bot accounts and took back the fake video views and earnings made from fake traffic. If this is indeed the case (we do not know), it is not clear if this was orchestrated by Adams, bought by some other person or entity or was simply an influence operation by an external actor helping to sow discord in the United States. There is currently no evidence that supports these speculations, however. We will need to suspend judgement until more facts become available.

However, we know that having thousands of subscribers removed and over 10 million video views removed (together with earnings) suggests that something happened that violated the YouTube rules. This may be part of the explanation for why the Health Ranger YouTube account was terminated from YouTube. We also know that the claim that the Health Ranger YouTube channel lost 100 000 subscribers is false based on Social Blade statistics. Why was the channel reinstated? This is also unknown, but one could imagine that Mike Adams and his team of lawyers could have petitioned YouTube and negotiated to take these losses in order to get the channel reinstated. However, right now, we have more speculations than evidence available.

Since being reinstated, a total of 23 videos have been uploaded. One of them claims that ADHD is a fake disease, while another claims that water fluoridation has been linked to ADHD. A clear contradiction to any reasonable person. This highlights that Natural News does not care about facts, but about spreading nonsense for money even though it likely harms people. Other videos call breast milk a cure for cancer and that pomegranate prevents or reverses cardiovascular disease by cleaning arteries.

Conclusion

Natural News is back on YouTube.

The Health Ranger channel was reinstated around April 10. Mike Adams claim that he lost 100 000 subscribers. This is probably not true. He lost about 4 000 subscribers. More strangely, the channel got over 10 million video views removed and a financial loss of between an estimated ~3 000 to ~42 000 USD. Perhaps Adams or someone else had bought fake subscriber bots that generated millions of fake views to boost video views or income. Right now, we do not have the evidence required to make any firm conclusions beyond the statistics themselves.

After being reinstated, the channel has continued to upload quackery videos. The YouTube community got a brief break from Natural News, but now they are back.

Emil Karlsson

Debunker of pseudoscience.

6 thoughts on “Natural News Back on YouTube After Ban

  • April 15, 2018 at 03:16
    Permalink

    Emil Karlsson,
    Well from a purely free speech standpoint its kind of difficult to be that upset about this. I personally don’t like it, but as long as people work hard to discredit his nonsense, we should be able to keep the damage to a minimum.

    Reply
    • April 16, 2018 at 18:30
      Permalink

      Getting banned for violating YouTube Community Guidelines is not a free speech issue. That regulates the relationship between the government and individuals, not between corporations and users.

  • April 16, 2018 at 12:31
    Permalink

    Given the dirty tricks Mike Adams has been known to play in order to drive traffic, game the algorithms, push angles, etc, this outrage about his “free speech” being oppressed is laughable. He has created and is involved with so many platforms that promote his snake oil and fearmongering scams that being kicked off of Youtube doesn’t limit his speech.

    Reply
    • April 16, 2018 at 18:31
      Permalink

      Correct. Even if it did, it has nothing to do with freedom of speech. This is a principle that means that the government cannot arrest you for what you say (with rare exceptions). It does not mean that YouTube are not allowed to ban user that violate YouTube Community Guidelines.

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