Brinkhof successfully defends Google in two cases about Covid misinformation: Amsterdam court rejects claims by Dutch politicians Wybren van Haga and Thierry Baudet for reinstatement of videos removed from YouTube

1 October 2021

MPs Wybren van Haga and Thierry Baudet posted videos on YouTube in which they criticized the corona restrictions in force in the Netherlands. Google removed some of these videos because they were in violation of YouTube’s COVID-19 medical misinformation policy, after which Van Haga together with the Blckbx Foundation and Thierry Baudet together Forum voor Democratie initiated (separate) preliminary relief proceedings.

On August 18 2021, the judge rejected all claims of Van Haga and Stichting Blckbx (see decision here) and on September 15 2021 also those of Baudet and Forum for Democracy (see decision here). In both cases, the judge ruled that Google had lawfully removed the videos because it rightfully established violations of its Covid policy.

The preliminary relief judge held in both cases that Google, as a private platform, has the right to set and enforce misinformation policies on its platform given its rights of property and freedom to conduct a business. The threshold for a court to intervene is high, and was not met in the cases at hand. The court found no significant limitation of speech rights, given the remaining possibilities for debate on YouTube and the number of alternative channels available.

Brinkhof has now successfully represented Google in three cases about its Covid-19 misinformation policy. Remy Chavannes, Dorien Verhulst and Anke Strijbos acted for Google in this litigation.