YouTube to remove content that alleges widespread election fraud
YouTube said Wednesday it will start removing any content uploaded to its platform that contains allegations of widespread fraud or errors in the 2020 presidential election after Tuesday’s so-called safe harbor deadline that essentially locked in President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
The deadline marked the date by which all states are required to have resolved any election-related disputes. President Trump, however, has not conceded the race, even as state officials have certified their election results showing Biden has the Electoral College votes to be the 46th president.
In a blog post, YouTube said content “that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome” of the presidential election will be removed. The update applies to content uploaded Wednesday or anytime after.
The move does not appear to involve the removal of any content fitting that description if it was uploaded before Wednesday, though YouTube said that since September it has terminated more than 8,000 channels and “thousands of harmful and misleading elections-related videos” for violating its existing policies.
YouTube said 77 percent of those removed videos were taken down before they had 100 views, meaning about a quarter may have reached a wide audience before they were removed.
Democrats have increasingly criticized social media platforms over their handling of election misinformation.
The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter have frequently come under scrutiny from lawmakers this year, but YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has not been summoned for Senate hearings like other social media executives. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has also appeared before a Senate panel, but he has largely not faced questions over YouTube, which is owned by Google.