Update: YouTube restores St. Louis County content ; County to use new platform after COVID comments caused concern

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FILE – (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo- For the second time in less than two months, YouTube has removed St. Louis County Government content from its platform for violating “Community Guidelines” and then restored it.

The latest move came after a Tuesday night County Council meeting that included more than 30 speakers in the pubic comment portion, many of whom gave voice to unproven and conspiratorial claims about COVID-19 and vaccines.

County Council members later approved a bill that will require COVID-19 vaccines for county employees, with mandatory testing for those who refuse to get vaccinated. The new measure includes space for religious exemptions.

YouTube pulled the meeting down sometime over the next twelve hours. A spokesperson for parent company Google confirmed that the meeting was restored Wednesday afternoon.

YouTube issued a warning to the county over similar content in a July 20 County Council meeting, and removed an August 4 meeting before reversing course and restoring the meeting. A spokesperson said at the time “We have policies in place to allow content that might otherwise violate our COVID-19 misinformation policies as long as it includes educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic (EDSA) context.”

The same spokesperson said the same situation unfolded this time.

At the time of the August removal, some County Council members called for meetings to be streamed by a different platform, citing YouTube’s “censorship”. A county spokesperson said Wednesday that St. Louis County “is in the final stages of acquiring access to a video hosting/streaming service where County Council video content will no longer be monitored by a 3rd party with content control and community guidelines.”

When the new platform is in place, County Council meetings will no longer be streamed on YouTube.

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