The United States needs to take a page out of the Germans playbook; YouTube was fined 100,000 Euros for censoring a video of a Covid lockdown protest. ReclaimTheNet.Org has it right, reporting, “unlike in the US, where Big Tech’s right to censor speech is granted to them as private internet operators, it seems that Europeans are ready to stop playing by those rules and start imposing their own laws.”
YouTube deleted a video filmed in Switzerland showing a protest against Covid lockdowns, so Germany’s Dresden Higher Regional Court ruled it was wrong. In April of 2020, the court first issued an injunction ordering the giant etch company to restore the video immediately.
YouTube ignored the ruling for nearly an entire month before complying on May 14, 2020. The German court felt it was too little, too late and fined the company due to a “deliberate and serious violation.”
The Dresden court did not accept YouTube’s defense that the Covid protest video was removed due to the company’s “medical misinformation policy.” ReclaimTheNet.Org writes that the new policy, “introduced at the start of wide-spread coronavirus (mis)information suppression on major social networks, at the time wasn’t even properly incorporated into YouTube’s own rules that form a ‘contract’ with channel owners.”
YouTube maintains it has “a responsibility to connect users with trustworthy information and to combat misinformation during Covid-19” trying to position itself above a country’s authorities.
The lawyer for the YouTube channel operator who was censored called the ruling “historic.” Joachim Steinhofel says because YouTube has to comply with court decisions regardless of whether or not it thinks its own “community guidelines” had been violated sets a new legal precedent. Hopefully he is right.