Following the removal of a YouTube upload from Henderson County Board of Commissioners in North Carolina on Wednesday for medical misinformation, the board voted Friday to immediately replace YouTube as its video posting platform.
YouTube pulled the video for violating its terms of service, specifically its medical misinformation policy.
During the meeting, commissioners passed a resolution, saying that Henderson County would not incentivize or support the promotion of COVID-19 vaccinations with county tax dollars.
The resolution was followed by people speaking out against vaccinations claiming they were part of a hidden agenda by the media, the government, and the pharmaceutical industry.
The county, therein, tried to appeal the action but was met with a statement that: "We reviewed your content carefully, and have confirmed that it violates our medical misinformation policy. We know this is probably disappointing news, but it's our job to make sure that YouTube is a safe place for all."
The response was met with further resistance that the video would not be placed back on YouTube.
Commissioners then filed for an emergency meeting to be held on Friday to discuss their options and express their frustration.
YouTube states, it "doesn't allow content about COVID-19 that poses a serious risk of egregious harm."
"YouTube doesn't allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities' or the World Health Organization's (WHO) medical information about COVID-19. This is limited to content that contradicts WHO or local health authorities' guidance on treatment, prevention, diagnosis, transmission, social distancing and self-isolation guidelines (and) the existence of COVID-19."
Other such measures cause for removal of content include:
- Content that recommends use of Ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.
- Claims that Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine are effective treatments for COVID-19.
- Claims that masks do not play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19.
- Claims about COVID-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or WHO.
- Claims that an approved COVID-19 vaccine will cause death, infertility, miscarriage, autism, or contraction of other infectious diseases.
Vice chair Rebecca McCall stated the removal of their video was censorship; the other commissioners echoed that same view.
"What concerns me about this is they are choosing what medical information is valid," McCall stated. "And yes, the information shared was from citizens who had done research, but wasn't validated, I give them that, but however, based on their qualifications that they list, if we had a medical doctor stand up there and state that he did not agree with the vaccine for children, or for pregnant women or for whoever, and listed the reasons why with medical backing, they would have taken it down also."
"This is censorship. This is yes, a private company, but it is censorship. And a lot of people use this private company, which scares me, because they are deciding what information is shared," McCall added.
One commissioner, Daniel Andreotta, waged concern YouTube's removal of the video was troubling, highlighting the power of social media. Andreotta wondered why was it "that this multi-billion-dollar worldwide company is so interested in Henderson County local government."
"What exact threat do we pose to them?" he added. "We the commissioners are here to do the people's business, even the people that maybe didn't vote for us, and we do it in front of the people, that's how it should be done."
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