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New YouTube videos that claim the 2020 presidential election was rigged due to widespread fraud or errors will no longer be allowed on the platform.
The policy, which goes into effect today, is intended to thwart misinformation that might mislead the American public. The Google-owned platform announced the change a day after the US reached the so-called “safe harbor” deadline when states should have completed any election challenges, recounts, or audits.
As YouTube puts it, “enough states have certified their election results” to determine that Joe Biden is the 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 US Presidential election, in line with our approach towards historical US Presidential elections,” YouTube said in today’s announcement.
As an example, YouTube said it’ll remove videos that allege “widespread software glitches” changed the outcome of the election—a baseless conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump and right-wing media outlets have promoted to try and overturn the election results.
However, YouTube’s new policy does have some exceptions. A Google spokesperson indicated the change only applies to newly uploaded videos, not old ones. News coverage and commentary about the topic can also remain up—as long as the videos contain enough context about the voter fraud allegations.
Strangely, YouTube said it was already blocking videos that alleged widespread fraud or errors had changed the outcome of the election. Since September, the platform has terminated more than 8,000 channels and thousands of election-related videos that violated its policies. “Over 77 percent of those removed videos were taken down before they had 100 views,” it said.
At the same time, the platform has been directing viewers to videos about the election results from “authoritative news sources,” including ABC News and USA Today. Nevertheless, YouTube said its previous policy left room for some “controversial views” on the election’s outcome and process to remain on the platform.
“And some videos, while not recommended prominently on YouTube, continue to get high views, sometimes coming from other sites,” it added.
The new policy arrives as outgoing President Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning to once again claim the election was rigged. Meanwhile, his supporters and right-wing pundits are already blasting YouTube for censorship, and encouraging users to switch to alternative platforms, such as Rumble and Parler.
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