Updated with new information after YouTube restored the video to its platform
ST. LOUIS – Public comments from a pair of recent St. Louis County Council meetings may be to blame for steps YouTube took to remove video of Tuesday’s meeting from its website before being restored Thursday in late afternoon.
In emails obtained by FOX2, county news director Charles Henderson said YouTube issued a warning to the county on August 3 regarding the content of a July 20, 2021 meeting and went on strike over the content of 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 viewed as disinformation about the COVID vaccine,” Henderson wrote to council members and to others Thursday. “I think the warning and the strike are due to statements made during the Public Forum portion of the Council session. We are not the only government subject to video deletion. The city of Bellingham Washington has also seen a video removed due to misinformation about vaccines.
More than 40 people testified at Tuesday’s meeting, almost entirely against the proposal for a new mask mandate.
“As I suspect vaccines are going to be a topic in the public forum for a while, and we should in no way try to control what the public wants to talk about, this will likely continue to be a problem as long as we are on the line. YouTube platform, ”Henderson wrote.
A spokesperson for Google, the parent company of YouTube, said in a statement to FOX Thursday afternoon that “after further review we are reinstating the video of the St. Louis council meeting. We have policies in place to allow content that might otherwise violate our COVID-19 disinformation policies as long as it includes an educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic (EDSA) context. ”
This background, according to the company, could include the broadcast of an open public forum, such as a protest or a public hearing, provided the content is not intended to promote misinformation that violates YouTube policies.
“This YouTube decision is total BS,” County Councilor Mark Harder replied in the same thread as Henderson to the original decision. “It’s nothing but censorship. We have no control over the information shared with the board in public comments. How could we control this.? We would be canceled every week for something or another. (cancel culture at work). We need to remove everything we have from YouTube and replace it on another platform ASAP. “
St. Louis County is testing similar platforms for live broadcast meetings and may switch to a new service on August 10.
According to our sister station WDAF in Kansas City, the Shawnee Mission School Board voted last month to stop broadcasting public comments after YouTube flagged the district for misinformation that was broadcast during a meeting last spring.
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