YouTube yanks video of county board meeting over COVID-19 misinformation

Something said about COVID-19 at the April 13, 2021, meeting of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners got the video of the proceedings yanked off YouTube after it was flagged for content.

The removal by YouTube “took us by surprise,” according to Livingston County Administrator Nathan Burd.

While no one knows for sure what in particular got the video removed, YouTube said it was yanked because of its COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy, which “doesn’t allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization’s medical information about COVID-19. (You can read the policy by clicking here.)

YouTube moved swiftly on the video, which was uploaded on Wednesday, April 13, and yanked later that day. Livingston County appealed YouTube’s decision on Thursday, April 14, and the appeal was denied the same day.

The removal of the video was “frustrating,” according to Burd, who said that while there was nothing COVID-related discussed by the commissioners at the meeting, there was “a lot of public comment” regarding COVID and the wearing of masks.

“I am assuming (the video removal by YouTube) was related to that,” Burd said.

And that makes it all the more frustrating.

“It was a public meeting,” Burd said, “and people can say whatever they want.”

Burd didn’t know if any of the public anti-mask commentary came from members of the Unmask Livingston group, which has not been shy about making its opinions known, and members of which have attended county board meetings in the past.

Unmask Livingston members caused the April 12, 2021, meeting of the Howell Public Schools to be adjourned after less than five minutes by refusing to wear masks as is required under State of Michigan guidelines. After the meeting was adjourned, members hurled insults and taunts at the school board. You can read all about that by clicking here.

In an interesting twist, videos from the Unmask Livingston’s private Facebook page and provided to The Livingston Post by an anonymous source were removed by YouTube after Unmask Livingston claimed copyright infringement. What was on the videos, however, is described accurately in the post.

Livingston County plans to upload to YouTube the video of the next Board of Commissioners meeting, which is set for Monday, April 26. If there is an issue with that upload, the county will likely look for another way to make the recordings of the meetings available to the public.

“We are looking at a couple other options,” Burd said.

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  1. I am surprised about censorship in America. I hope you are also. When we accept censorship as acceptable then there is no moral compass. Only that might makes right and then anarchy and bedlam follow. I am surprised and aghast at the censorship. Please also be both.

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