ST. LOUIS- Public comments from a pair of recent St. Louis County Council meetings may be to blame for action taken by YouTube to remove video of Tuesday’s meeting from its website.
In emails obtained by FOX2, the county’s Chief Information Officer Charles Henderson said YouTube issued the county a warning on August 3 regarding content from a July 20, 2021 meeting and issued a strike because of content from the August 4 meeting.
“YouTube and the other major Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) are focused on removing content that the platforms have deemed as COVID Vaccine misinformation,” Henderson wrote to members of the Council and others Thursday. “I believe that both the warning and the strike are due to statements being made during the Public Forum part of the Council Session. We are not the only government to be subject to having videos removed. The city of Bellingham Washington has also had a video removed due to Vaccine misinformation.
More than 40 people testified at Tuesday’s meeting, almost entirely against the proposal for a new mask mandate.
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Henderson warned that if the county’s channel gets 2 strikes within 90 days, it would be suspended for two weeks and permanently disabled if a third strike comes within 90 days. The county is appealing YouTube’s decision.
“As I suspect that Vaccines are going to be a subject in the Pubic Forum for some time, and we should not in any way attempt to control what the public wishes to speak about, this will likely continue to be a problem as long as we are on the YouTube platform,” Henderson wrote.
A message seeking comment from Google, YouTube’s parent company, was not immediately returned Thursday.
“This ruling by YouTube is total BS,” County Councilman Mark Harder responded in the same email thread as Henderson’s. “This is nothing but censorship. We have no control over any information shared with the council in public comments. How could we possibly police this.? We would be cancelled every week for something or another. ( cancel culture at work ). We need to pull everything we have off of YouTube and replace on another platform ASAP.”
St. Louis County is testing similar platforms for livestreaming meetings and could switch to a new service August 10.
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