YouTube Ceases Deletion of False 2020 Election Claims

In a significant announcement made on Friday, YouTube declared its decision to cease the removal of videos containing false claims regarding fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

This policy reversal marks a departure from the measures put in place following the conclusion of the 2020 vote and comes in anticipation of the upcoming 2024 elections.

Having already eliminated tens of thousands of videos questioning the integrity of past elections, YouTube now asserts that it is essential to re-evaluate its approach.

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The revised policy goes into effect on 2 June, as the platform aims to adapt to the changing landscape of the present time.

YouTube, along with other social media platforms, has faced mounting pressure since the 2016 elections to combat the spread of political misinformation.

The Google-owned platform justifies the new policy by stating that while removing such content can curb some misinformation, it could inadvertently stifle political discourse without effectively reducing the risk of real-world harm or violence.

The company further indicates its intent to refine its policies in preparation for the 2024 election, although specific details regarding the factors influencing this policy shift have not been disclosed. The BBC has reached out to YouTube for additional comments.

It is important to note that YouTube will continue to enforce other measures to combat election misinformation, such as removing videos that provide misleading instructions on voting locations or procedures.

The election fraud policy was implemented in December 2020 and resulted in the deletion of a video shared by Donald Trump on 6 January 2021, where he urged protesters to leave the US Capitol. The video violated the policy as Trump reiterated false claims of widespread fraud.

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“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” Trump stated in the video. “We have to have peace. So go home, we love you, you’re very special.”

In 2022, a video posted by a US congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot was also removed due to its inclusion of a clip where Mr. Trump repeated election falsehoods.

YouTube lifted restrictions on Trump’s YouTube channel, which boasts over 2.7 million subscribers, in March of this year.

Since then, the former president has shared approximately 20 brief clips in support of his campaign.

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