YouTube censored a doctor making videos about COVID-19. When the doctor sued, the judge in the case sided with the censorship happy platform.
YouTube censored over a million videos for allegedly spreading COVID-19 “misinformation,” but later quietly changed its policy after some of this supposed misinformation turned out to be true. Dr. Joseph Mercola, who previously had hundreds of thousands of followers on YouTube, argued that the platform violated an implied contract with him by its anti-free speech purging of his channels. Unfortunately for Mercola, a judge recently sided with YouTube, noting that users agree to YouTube’s Community Guidelines. Without addressing the issue of First Amendment rights, the judge asserted that the platform is “not require[d]…to host content.”
The Sept. 4 ruling noted that YouTube “terminated” Mercola’s account because his content violated the platform’s COVID-19 medical misinformation policy. But it seems the platform did not ban Mercola according to its usual three strikes and you're out policy. As reported by Reclaim the Net, Mercola accused YouTube of silencing him without prior warnings and even refused him access to his own content.
Mercola’s legal team sought restitution for damages and access to the banned content. The team argued that “the termination breaches YouTube’s terms of service [and] violates the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” according to the ruling.
But YouTube won its anti-free speech case and the judge claimed that a user checking a box and agreeing to the platform’s terms of service allows YouTube to censor free speech. “The court grants the defendants’ Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss: the parties’ agreement allows YouTube to remove the content and precludes damages,” the ruling’s introduction concluded.
YouTube’s COVID censorship was heavily oppressive of free speech. A YouTube executive bragged during an October 2021 Congressional hearing that the platform had removed over 1 million COVID-related videos. Yet, in August 2022, the platform quietly edited its COVID “misinformation” policy.
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