YouTube Flips on Election Lies

Company says policy enacted in 2020 could curb political speech
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2023 5:30 PM CDT
YouTube Stops Removing Fraud Claims on 2020 Vote
A poll worker sorts through voting material at Park Tavern in Atlanta on Nov. 3, 2020.   (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

YouTube has reversed, effective immediately, the election integrity policy it enacted in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential vote. The company said leaving the policy in place for the next election could result in "curtailing political speech without meaningfully reducing the risk of violence or other real-world harm," Axios reports. So, YouTube said, "We will stop removing content that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in the 2020 and other past US Presidential elections."

Deceptive information about future elections still could be pulled, said the company, which is owned by Google, per the AP. False claims that voting by mail isn't valid, for example, is still subject to removal. YouTube said it made the decision after careful deliberations but didn't explain how, or give examples, though it said more details will be provided as the 2024 election nears. The content moderation team has its work cut out for it, said John Wihbey of Northeastern University. "I don't know how you disentangle rhetoric that both refers to past wrongs and to forward possibilities," he said. (More YouTube stories.)

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