YouTube Pulls County Commission Meeting Video
April 23, 2021
By Jon King / firstname.lastname@example.org
After repeated false claims about COVID-19 made by residents during last week’s Livingston County Board of Commissioners meeting, YouTube has deleted the video for violating their community standards.
The meeting, held on Tuesday, April 13th, was held in a hybrid format, with commissioners and county personnel in person at the county administration building, while residents and others had the opportunity to participate virtually, But as has been the case for the last several weeks, many of the comments during the Call to the Public portion contained repeated misstatements concerning the seriousness of COVID-19, how it was transmitted, the efficacy of masks and other points of view that are at odds with the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence.
When asked why the video had been deleted, Livingston County Administrator Nathan Burd told WHMI that when they tried to upload the meeting the following day, April 14th, they “were notified that YouTube would not allow it to be posted because it violated their ‘Covid-19 medical misinformation policy.’” He says they filed an immediate appeal of the decision, but it was denied.
While YouTube did not specify the exact violation, Burd said they assume it was related to comments made during the Call to the Public and that YouTube was aware that they are a government entity and it was a public meeting, but there does not appear to be an exemption in that circumstance. “We haven’t experienced this previously, so I’m not sure if the policy is new or what exactly prompted this. There doesn’t appear to be a governmental exemption. At this point, we’re just going to look for other options to post our videos.”
According to YouTube’s website, their COVID-19 medical misinformation policy, states that, “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.”
The COVID misstatements from residents have become an increasing presence at local governmental meetings in the last several weeks, spurred on by groups like Unmask Livingston, which recently forced a Howell Public Schools Board of Education meeting to adjourn when they refused to wear masks.
The group posted videos of that encounter to their closed Facebook page, which were sent to WHMI and other media outlets by members with access to that page. But they were later pulled off YouTube after the the creators of the videos said it violated their copyright. Before that occurred, however, the videos drew widespread ridicule from people who saw them, characterizing the group's tactics as “foolish” and reminiscent of a “toddler temper tantrum.”