Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has thrown down the gauntlet against tech giants Google and YouTube. A lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleges that these companies have trampled his right to free speech.
In his race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination against incumbent President Joe Biden, Kennedy asserts he was the first individual to be silenced under the Biden administration. The lawsuit suggests this suppression could continue, especially as the primaries draw near.
The lawsuit posits that YouTube serves as a “digital town square” connected to the government. Therefore, it argues, YouTube has no legal right to censor Kennedy’s speech, which includes removing his speeches and interviews from the platform.
“This lawsuit deals with the freedom of speech and the unprecedented steps taken by the U.S. government under President Biden’s leadership to silence those it deems undesirable for the American public to hear,” the document elaborates.
Kennedy, founder of the anti-vaccine charity Children’s Health Defense and a known critic of some vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines, has seen his content repeatedly censored by YouTube under its “vaccine misinformation” policy.
The complaint indicates that YouTube’s policy to stifle “medical misinformation” is guided by government regulations. “YouTube depends on the government to decide what information is to be censored,” Kennedy’s lawsuit asserts.
While some social media companies have eased censorship since Kennedy’s declaration of candidacy, YouTube continues to remove his content. The lawsuit argues that such a censorship campaign impedes Kennedy’s message from reaching millions of voters and obstructs supporter groups from amplifying his campaign through public sources.
Kennedy suggested the establishment of a government-regulated social media platform to address the censorship issue. He’s also vowed to sign executive orders aimed at preventing censorship involving government interference if he wins the presidency.
Google’s representative has dismissed the lawsuit as baseless, insisting, “YouTube applies its Community Guidelines independently, transparently, and consistently, regardless of political viewpoint. We consider these claims to be without merit and look forward to debunking them.”
Kennedy has yet to provide a comment on the matter.