YouTube reverses policy on removing 2020 election fraud videos

YouTube has announced that it will no longer remove videos containing false claims regarding the 2020 US presidential election fraud. The decision, which comes ahead of the 2024 elections, marks a change in the platform’s policy that was implemented following the 2020 vote. The social media giant revealed that it has removed tens of thousands of videos questioning the integrity of past elections but believes it is now time to reassess its approach. The new policy will be effective from June 2.

The Google-owned platform, along with other social media sites, has been under significant pressure to protect against political misinformation since the 2016 elections. YouTube stated that the change in policy is due to the current landscape. “In the current environment, we find that while removing this content does curb some misinformation, it could also have the unintended effect of curtailing political speech without meaningfully reducing the risk of violence or other real-world harm,” the company said in a statement.

Although YouTube did not provide specific details about what led to the policy change, it confirmed that it would continue to adjust its policies in preparation for the 2024 election. The company also added that it would still enforce other election misinformation policies, such as removing videos containing misleading instructions on voting procedures.

The election fraud policy was introduced in December 2020 and resulted in the removal of a video posted by Donald Trump on January 6, 2021, in which he instructed protesters to leave the US Capitol. The video was deleted because Trump repeated his false claims of widespread fraud. “This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” Trump said in the clip. “We have to have peace. So go home, we love you, you’re very special.”

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In 2022, a video posted by a US congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot was also removed, as it contained a clip of Trump repeating election falsehoods. However, restrictions on Trump’s YouTube channel, which has over 2.7 million subscribers, were lifted in March this year. Since then, the former president has posted approximately 20 short clips in support of his campaign.

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Chris Hollingsworth

Chris studied journalism in the US and worked there for a few years before moving to Thailand in 2021, just as he thought Covid was coming to an end - sadly more lockdowns ensued as he came out of his 14 days of isolation! He now combines his passion for writing and journalism to cover US and global news for The Thaiger.

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