Former US President Donald Trump’s YouTube account is seen on a mobile phone and laptop after being reinstated by Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc., as Google lifted a more than two-year suspension imposed on Trump after the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 d. Riot on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., March 17, 2023.
Jim Burg | Reuters
Google-owned YouTube will stop removing false claims of widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential race, the video platform announced Friday.
YouTube said in a blog post that it made the decision to balance its dual goals of “protecting our community and providing a home for open discussion and debate.” The decision, which comes ahead of the 2024 midterm races, reverses a policy implemented in December 2020 after President Joe Biden won the election.
“Two years, tens of thousands of removed videos and one election cycle later, we realized it was time to reassess the effects of this policy in today’s changed landscape,” YouTube wrote. “In the current environment, we find that while removing this content limits some misinformation, it may also have the unintended effect of limiting political speech without significantly reducing the risk of violence or other real-world harm.”
The new rule will come into effect on Friday, June 2.
In the 2020 election, the company faced backlash for being slow to act when it came to labeling and removing videos that showed misinformation or false claims about widespread voter fraud. Following the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, YouTube said it will begin suspending channels that make false claims about widespread voter fraud
As of March 2023, YouTube has already removed the restrictions imposed on Trump’s account after the January 6 riot.
YouTube said there are still aspects of its election disinformation policy that remain, including emphasizing authoritative sources in search and referrals and banning posts that aim to mislead voters about where and how to vote.
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