Big U.S. tech companies have been bombarded by criticism for failing to curtail the spread of misinformation. In response, the firms have taken a harder line during the pandemic.
The issue started here last Tuesday, when council members heard from a large and angry crowd before voting to terminate County Executive Sam Page’s controversial mask mandate.
A week later, YouTube issued a warning to the county that the video of the meeting, posted to the County Council’s YouTube channel, contained misinformation regarding COVID-19 that could trigger further action, county information technology chief Charles Henderson wrote in an email to council members.
This Tuesday, the council held another meeting with another loud and angry crowd. The next day, YouTube issued what Henderson called a “strike” against the new meeting’s video, and removed it. A second strike, Henderson explained, would result in the County Council’s account being suspended for two weeks. A third in 90 days would get the council banned from the platform.
“I believe that both the warning and the strike are due to statements being made during the Public Forum part of the Council Session,” Henderson said in the email.
“I do not have much hope that an appeal will be successful,” he continued.
YouTube did not respond to questions about which parts of Tuesday’s County Council meeting broke its rules. But plenty of comments could have. After the first speaker finished railing against the “injection bioweapon,” others suggested:
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