By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Cheyenne attorney and former congressional candidate has declared YouTube’s ban of anti-vaccination content from its platform to be illegal censorship and in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Attorney Darin Smith told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that YouTube’s recent move to ban and remove all anti-vaccination content from the platform was “absolutely illegal.”
“They’re canceling people’s constitutional rights and it absolutely flies in the face of the Constitution,” he said. “We’ve given them way too much power. These companies have more power than probably any country on the planet right now.”
Last week, YouTube (which is owned by Google) announced it would remove all anti-vaccination content from the platform, explaining its current community guidelines have been extended to cover “currently administered” vaccines that have been proven safe by the World Health Organization and other health officials, according to NPR.
The mandate went into effect immediately, with some prominent names (including Robert F. Kennedy Jr.) already seeing their accounts banned due to what YouTube said was misinformation.
Smith said at this point, Google, YouTube and Facebook were no longer private companies but are more like public utilities. Additionally, they have monopolized the markets for search engines, user-created video content and social media, he said.
“I would say that Google and Facebook have been the worst offenders in trampling on people’s rights if they don’t agree with what somebody says,” Smith said. “Clearly, that needs to be stopped. We made them and then they got so big and powerful that it’s empowered by the state and they can have zero liability or accountability to the public.”
He added that while the anti-vaccination content removal is currently the big news, Google and YouTube (along with other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook) have quietly been censoring people and accounts with which they do not agree for a long time.
Smith pointed to users and videos that questioned the outcome of November’s presidential election as an example of a subject being “shadowbanned,” when someone’s content is hidden or restricted without the person who posted it being notified.
YouTube had earlyer banned content that contained false claims about the COVID vaccines, but the new policy will extend to a number of other vaccines.
Smith’s comments were in contrast with fellow Cheyenne attorney Bruce Moats’ comments last week that said what YouTube was doing was perfectly legal.
“The adoption of the 14th Amendment after the Civil War guaranteed individuals free speech, and the other protections in the First Amendment, against infringements by state and local governments,” Moats told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “Nothing in either (the First or 14th amendments) makes it apply to private individuals or businesses.”
Smith encouraged anyone who was concerned about the YouTube ban to contact their politicians from the federal to local level.
“Regardless of what side of the issue you’re on, people should know they should be about freedom and resistance to tyranny is obedience to God,” he said. “We have God-given rights in America, the only country in the world where our right are derived from God. Everybody should be fighting for medical freedom here and this should be repulsive to everybody.”