Can YouTube legally take all anti-vaccine content off your screens? WTRF’s legal expert weighs in

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October 31 2021 11:59 pm

Moundsville, W.Va. (WTRF) – It was once a quick online search, but now anti-vaccine content is no where to be found on YouTube. That’s because YouTube is taking it off your screens.

But does that go against the law?

Anti-vaccine misinformation related to COVID and other approved vaccines is no longer right at your finger tips, at least not on YouTube.

And it’s just the beginning.

“They have eliminated well over 100,000 videos that provide misinformation about vaccines in general.”

WTRF Legal expert Diana Crutchfield

But is it legal for YouTube to do? WTRF Legal expert Diana Crutchfield says the short answer is yes.

“They’re perfectly in their rights to.”

WTRF Legal expert Diana Crutchfield

And here’s why?

Unlike a government agency, Crutchfield says private companies (that includes social media platforms like YouTube) can have their own say in what they do or don’t publish and the first amendment has no power over it in most cases. Crutchfield’s talking about the community standards and restrictions each private company is allowed to enforce.

“Some people think it’s too little, too late, but, of course, some people are considering it to be a violation of first amendment rights, which it just is not because these companies are not government agencies.”

WTRF Legal expert Diana Crutchfield

And outside of that, Crutchfield says there’s not much you can do to push back as a regular citizen.

“You can’t successfully sue if they won’t publish your content because they think it violates their standards on misinformation. If you sue you’re going to run up against the communications decency act, which grants immunity to these type of social media providers”

WTRF Legal expert Diana Crutchfield

This move comes as YouTube and other tech giants like Facebook and Twitter have faced criticism for not doing enough to stop the spread of false health information on their sites.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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