In a lengthy blog post, YouTube announced updates to their work supporting the integrity of the 2020 U.S. election. This includes removing content that violates their policies. In addition to things that YouTube was already removing, the company will now remove content that alleges widespread election fraud.
Yesterday was the safe harbor deadline for the U.S. Presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect. Given that, we will start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential elections, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. Presidential elections.
As an example, YouTube pointed out that they will remove videos claiming that a Presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors. News coverage and commentary on these issues can remain on YouTube if there’s sufficient education, documentary, scientific, or artistic context.
Part of YouTube’s blog post mentions that since Election Day, relevant fact check information panels, from third party fact checkers, were triggered over 200,000 times above relevant election-related search results, including for voter fraud narratives such as “Dominion voting machines” and “Michigan recount.”
The Hill reported that YouTube’s move does not appear to involve the removal of any content fitting that description if it was uploaded before Wednesday. The Hill also stated that YouTube has said that since September it has terminated more than 800,000 channels and “thousands of harmful and misleading elections-related videos” for violating its existing content policies.
Personally, I think YouTube is making good decisions about what to remove. The recounts are over. The courts have dismissed many (if not all) of President Trump’s election related lawsuits. Many states have certified their election results. There is no reason for YouTube to host misleading election related content anymore.