Why it matters: President Trump has been relentless in his claims that democrats stole the 2020 election. Now that enough states have certified their results in favor of Joe Biden, YouTube will begin removing videos alleging election fraud. YouTube’s reasoning lies with the Trump campaign’s numerous court losses combined with the state certification of votes.
YouTube announced today that it would start removing videos that falsely claim widespread election fraud that led to Joe Biden’s win over President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Since the election, President Trump and his allies have sought to overturn Biden’s victory citing massive fraud. However, his campaign and legal team have failed to produce sufficient evidence in numerous court cases. YouTube’s based its decision to ban videos alleging election fraud on the fact that enough states have officially certified their election results to determine the winner. The Electoral College is scheduled to meet on Monday, and the “safe harbor” deadline has passed.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which have outright labeled content as misleading, YouTube originally just marked content as election-related. It took a more hands-off approach, while the votes were still being tallied and certified. YouTube admitted that in some cases, that approach meant “allowing controversial views on the outcome or process of counting votes of a current election.”
YouTube is attempting to bolster its integrity by pointing viewers to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s “Rumor Control” page and the Office of the Federal Register that confirms that Joe Biden is President-Elect per the state certification of votes.
YouTube has also released some stats concerning its attempts at curtailing misleading videos. It has terminated over 8,000 channels and “thousands” of videos, with 77% of those videos not reaching 100 views. About 88% of the videos in the top ten search results for elections were from “authoritative news sources.” The most viewed election-related videos and channels were from news sources like NBC and CBS.
“We understand the need for intense scrutiny on our elections-related work. Our teams work hard to ensure we are striking a balance between allowing for a broad range of political speech and making sure our platform isn’t abused to incite real-world harm or broadly spread harmful misinformation. We welcome ongoing debate and discussion and will keep engaging with experts, researchers and organizations to ensure that our policies and products are meeting that goal. And as always, we’ll apply learnings from this election to our ongoing efforts to protect the integrity of elections around the world.”
Social media companies have been in the spotlight in managing misinformation on their respective platforms. Social media’s growing influence has forced them to aggressively monitor for false and misleading information while trying to strike a balance with legitimate debate.
While this news will probably bolster claims from some groups of “liberal bias,” YouTube probably thinks it has enough room to stand considering the state certification of votes and Trump campaign’s litany of court losses.