YouTube has been fined 100,000 euros by the German Higher Regional Court at Dresden after it wrongly deleted a user’s video which showed massive pandemic lockdown protests in Switzerland – and then failed to reinstate the video ‘immediately’ after the court ordered it to do so on April 20.
Instead, the company waited nearly a month to revive the video, which led to last week’s fine, issued on July 5th, according to WELT.de.
Lawyer Joachim Steinhöfel, who represents the account operator, considers the court’s decision to be a guideline for freedom of expression on the Internet. “With the historically high fine, the Higher Regional Court makes it very clear that court decisions must be observed without restriction, regardless of whether YouTube assumes a violation of its guidelines or not,” said Steinhöfel. -Welt.de (translated)
YouTube, however, doesn’t seem phased. A spokesman told WELT, “We have a responsibility to connect our users with trustworthy information and to combat misinformation during Covid-19. This is a decision on a case-by-case basis that we respect and will review accordingly.”
The protest video was deleted at the end of January, with YouTube citing its “Policy on medical misinformation about COVID-19,” however the court rejected their reasoning, concluding in part that the company’s amended guidelines had not been sufficiently conveyed to the account operator – and that a literal amendment to the user agreement is required for this. The mere indication that changes may occur surrounding their COVID-19 policies is not enough.