YouTube announced on Wednesday that it would remove any new videos attributed to widespread electoral fraud or mistakes that altered the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The move follows Tuesdayfor states to certify their election results.
President Trump and his allies have repeatedly questioned the outcome of the 2020 election and tried, with little success, to question President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in court. Last week, Attorney General William BarrThe Justice Department had found no evidence to support Mr Trump’s claims.
YouTube said in a blog post that it has removed more than 8,000 channels and thousands of “harmful and misleading” videos about the election since September. Almost 80% of the removed videos were removed before they had 100 views, the company said, although it didn’t say how many videos were reviewed in total.
Google’s proprietary video service seeks to “strike a balance between enabling a wide range of political speeches and ensuring our platform is not used to cause harm in the real world or to spread harmful misinformation widely”.
In a letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki last month, a group of Democratic senators called on the platform to “immediately remove” all videos containing misinformation about the election.
“These videos are designed to undermine our democracy and question the legitimacy of the new administration of President-elect Biden,” the letter said. “Since the current president has not committed himself to a peaceful change of power, misinformation and manipulated media content on your platform can lead to unrest.”
YouTube has implemented such a policy more slowly than its competitors Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter have been monitoring content related to the November 3rd elections and adding labels warning of misinformation and limiting the reach of the content. This video platform has also been accused of contributing to political radicalization by distributing inflammatory or fake content recommended by the YouTube algorithm.
Senator Josh Hawley, who was critical of the monitoring of content by social media companies and Google, called for the companies to be closed.
“@Google owned @YouTube and officially announced that free speech was no longer allowed,” the Missouri Republican tweeted in response to YouTube’s announcement.