Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis accused YouTube of censorship for removing a video posted last month that discussed coronavirus measures that contradict the WHO's guidelines. YouTube removed the video for violating its policies on COVID-19 misinformation.
DeSantis made the accusation during an event held on Monday, which focused on social media and the mainstream media's silencing of alternative solutions to the pandemic. For example, they're silencing the idea that children should not wear masks. It does not seem like there is a consensus on mask-wearing in children. The WHO does not recommend it for kids below the age of 12, while the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says masks can be worn by kids above the age of 2.
In the video, which was posted last month, DeSantis talked to bioastician Martin Kulldorff, radiologist and former adviser to the White House Scott Atlas, epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta, and economist Jay Bhattacharya. All of these experts have been vocal critics of the medical consensus on stopping the spread of the virus, such as mask-wearing and lockdowns.
Gupta, Kulldorf, and Bhattacharya authored the Great Barrington Declaration, an anti-lockdown manifesto that recommends herd-immunity. But the WHO says that the herd-immunity approach is “dangerous” and “unethical.”
In the Monday event, DeSantis criticized YouTube and Google for removing the March 13 video.
“Now Google YouTube has not been, throughout this pandemic, repositories of truth and scientific inquiry, but instead have acted as enforcers of a narrative, a big-tech council of censors in service of the ruling elite,” he said.
YouTube, in a statement, said that the video was removed because some of the remarks made in the video violated its policy on medical misinformation.
“Our policies apply to everyone, and focus on content regardless of the speaker or channel,” a YouTube spokesperson said.
According to Bhattacharya, YouTube's decision to remove the video is political oppression.
“You are entering into a phase of countries that we used to criticize severely, like the USSR, like communist China,” he said. “I mean, this is almost the end of our civilization if we have this sort of censorship, I'm afraid.”
Meanwhile, Florida's GOP state legislators are considering a legislation that would prevent online platforms from censoring users.