A North Carolina county board of commissioners is ripping Google-owned YouTube and pushing back hard legally after the platform took it upon itself to delete one of the board's videos, allegedly for violating its "terms of service" as they pertain to medical 'misinformation.'
A Henderson County Board of Commissioners meeting from June 16 was removed by the platform, which led members to call an emergency meeting two days later. At the emergency meeting, commissioners ordered their staffers to find other platforms that can host their meetings without being censored, as well as find alternatives to all Google products. That would include nearly $400,000 earmarked for Google Chromebooks for the county's public schools, The Epoch Times added.
“We aren’t going to buy Google products whenever we have a choice,” Board of Commissioner Chairman William Lapsley told The Epoch Times.
During the public commentary period at the June 16 meeting, a number of people asked commissioners not to spend taxpayer money to help the state's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, pay for COVID-19 vaccine incentives. They include for separate $1 million cash drawings, $25 gift cash cards, and funding for billboards and other signage. In fact, those incentives are not funded locally by taxpayers but rather by federal taxpayers; the money comes from the $1.9 trillion 'relief' measure Democrats passed in March.
Citizens who want to speak have three minutes to address their concerns to the commissioners, Lapsley said, "as long as they keep it civil."
But that's not a direct dialogue with commissioners themselves, he stressed.
“It’s just an opportunity for anybody to tell the commissioners what’s on their mind,” Lapsley explained.
For a number of years, the county commission staff has uploaded video of meetings to YouTube where they would remain for 90 days.
“We posted the video as we normally do, and within about two hours we got an email from YouTube telling us that the video has been taken down because of misinformation,” Lapsley said.
That left commissioners confused, so staff appealed the decision to YouTube and within an hour heard back from the platform's editorial staff informing them the video would remain offline.
In a statement to The Epoch Times, YouTube noted: "Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we established clear policies to prevent the spread of misinformation that could lead to real-world harm. While we welcome open debate and discussion about the COVID-19 vaccines on our platform, we don’t allow content that includes claims the vaccines have killed thousands of people, and as such we removed a video from the Henderson County Board of Commissioners’ channel.”
None of the 12 citizens who spoke to commissioners at the June 16 meeting said anything about COVID vaccines killing thousands of people. Rather, each of the 12 spoke out against COVID jab programs "targeting massive groups of people" based on what they believe are "suppressed facts."
But this is 2021, and the big tech platforms rule now; free speech is by invitation and permission only, while debating information and offering up alternative facts that don't match the official narratives are not permitted. It's like big tech platforms are the modern equivalent of England's King George.
In response, Lapsley tried to claim that YouTube, as a 'private entity,' can do what it wants; but really, can it? Morally and legally and constitutionally?
“However, we feel that by posting our local government video in the past, they were providing a ‘public space’ for their customers to exercise their individual right to free speech,” Lapsley told The Epoch Times
“Obviously, they are now censoring the free speech of our county citizens by their action of taking down the county video of a public meeting—this presents a dangerous precedent that this branch of local government will not support," he added.
That's good. Until more Americans do this -- say no to big tech censorship -- it's just going to get worse.