YouTube will remove any new videos alleging Trump lost election because of fraud


YouTube has more than 2 billion monthly visitors. 

Angela Lang/CNET

YouTube will remove any new videos alleging that President Donald Trump lost the US election to Joseph Biden because of fraud or errors, Google‘s massive video site said Wednesday on its YouTube blog. Essentially, YouTube now categorizes Biden’s victory and Trump’s loss as historical fact, and so it will crack down on new misleading videos alleging otherwise.

YouTube noted its policies already prohibit videos alleging that fraud or errors changed the outcome of a historical US presidential election, but “in some cases, that has meant allowing controversial views on the outcome or process of counting votes of a current election, as election officials have worked to finalize counts,” it added. Now that enough states have certified their results to determine Biden is president-elect, YouTube will remove any piece of content uploaded Wednesday or after “that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 US Presidential election.” 

YouTube’s policy announcement comes the day after the so-called “safe harbor” deadline, when all challenges to an election at the state level are traditionally expected to be finished — a milestone that adds credence that the results of the election are beyond dispute. 

YouTube, like social networks Facebook and Twitter, have all wrestled with election misinformation in the US’ highly contested election. These companies’ decisions and enforecement draw controversy not only for what they allow and what they remove, but also for their ability — or lack thereof — to adequately enforce the rules they set. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was hauled in front of Congress twice in just the four months ahead of the election, each time being upbraided for perceived failures in what YouTube leaves up and bias in what what it takes down. 

YouTube has 2 billion monthly users, and is the world’s biggest source of online video. 

The company also released some statistics about its enforcement actions so far related to the election. YouTube said it has terminated more than 8,000 channels and “thousands of harmful and misleading elections-related videos” since September. It said that 77% of those removed videos were taken down before they hit 100 views.

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