Google’s “anti-misinformation” rules outright ban free debate and expression on Covid19
YouTube’s censorship of alternative Covid19 narratives has become increasingly overt. Back on May 20th it released its still current ‘policy’ which unashamedly tells potential creators:
Don’t post content on YouTube if it includes any of the following:
The list of unacceptable topics and views is fairly extensive
- Denial that COVID-19 exists
- Claims that people have not died from COVID-19
- Claims that there’s a guaranteed vaccine for COVID-19
- Claims that a specific treatment or medicine is a guaranteed cure for COVID-19
- Claims that certain people have immunity to COVID-19 due to their race or nationality
- Encouraging taking home remedies instead of getting medical treatment when sick
- Discouraging people from consulting a medical professional if they’re sick
- Content that claims that holding your breath can be used as a diagnostic test for COVID-19
- Videos alleging that if you avoid Asian food, you won’t get the coronavirus
- Videos alleging that setting off fireworks can clean the air of the virus
- Claims that COVID-19 is caused by radiation from 5G networks
- Videos alleging that the COVID-19 test is the cause of the virus
- Claims that countries with hot climates will not experience the spread of the virus
- Videos alleging that social distancing and self-isolation are not effective in reducing the spread of the virus
Now we may all agree some of these banned opinions sound odd, even ridiculous. But that’s not the point. Free speech includes the freedom to be odd, ridiculous and plain wrong. Once that right is gone – free speech no longer exists.
We also need to be sure we don’t let the more risible elements obscure the fact that some very rational and mainstream avenues of thought are being banned from expression here. Including incredibly sweeping statements such as [our emphasis]:
YouTube doesn’t allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts the World Health Organization (WHO) or local health authorities
But the prohibition that might be most significant is the first.
Apparently you can’t go on YouTube and simply say covid19 doesn’t exist.
You can say bubonic plague doesn’t exist. You can say malaria doesn’t exist. You can question the reality of cancer, diabetes, rubella, chicken pox, hantavirus, African Green Monkey disease, the common cold and any other pathology you can think of.
The real question is – why?