Video-sharing giant YouTube announced today that it will eliminate new content that questions or undermines the integrity of the 2020 presidential elections, as U.S. President Donald J. Trump continues to allege irregularities in the ballot scrutiny process.
In its official blog, YouTube -a subsidiary of Google-, affirmed that its mission, rather than serving as a mere streaming platform, is to connect its users with "authoritative" sources. As previously reported by THE WEEKLY JOURNAL, the company defines these as official organizations, government agencies, and certain news media, among others.
In an ongoing bid to tackle "misinformation," YouTube has hardened its Community Guidelines concerning content that questions the established narrative or consensus regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and, most recently, the U.S. elections.
According to the blog post, the company has terminated more than 8,000 channels and "thousands of harmful and misleading elections-related videos for violating our existing policies." Over 77 percent of that removed content was taken down before reaching 100 views.
Fighting misinformation and ‘harmful content’ about COVID-19 and the U.S. elections
Furthermore, YouTube reaffirmed that, because enough states have certified Democrat Joe Biden as the nation's president-elect, it will "start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. Presidential elections."
"For example, we will remove videos claiming that a Presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors. We will begin enforcing this policy today, and will ramp up in the weeks to come. As always, news coverage and commentary on these issues can remain on our site if there’s sufficient education, documentary, scientific or artistic context," the company asserted.
Last October, YouTube execs held a Zoom meeting with various reporters from Latin America to discuss the company's battle against "fake news." During this virtual event, THE WEEKLY JOURNAL asked the executives to explain how does the company determine what is a mere conspiracy theory (allowed) versus fake news (terminated).
“When it comes to conspiracy theories, there are certain types of content that we do disavow and remove from our platforms through our community guidelines violations. Our community guidelines do focus on this concept of harm and egregiousness and there are conspiracy theories that cross the line… and we do remove those types of content. But it is true that there is conspiracy theory-related content that doesn’t cross that line of harm and egregiousness,” replied Woojin Kim, VP of Product Management.
The company joins other tech giants who are shaping and even censoring public discourse to reportedly endorse factual information sharing. For instance, social media platforms Twitter and Facebook have enacted "fact-checks" to warn their respective communities when a link, image, or statement contains inaccurate information and/or if it is missing context. Both of these have been accused of being biased against conservative content and have prompted some users to shift to more libertarian platforms, such as Parler and Gab.ai.
GOP Keeps Disputing Election Results
YouTube's announcement of stricter measures against alleged "misinformation" coincides with more allegations from pro-Trump circles of irregularities during the election, such as widespread fraud. By contrast, a coalition of federal officials co-authored a statement citing the Nov. 3 general elections as the "most secure in American history."
Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a GOP bid to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania, which placed Biden as the winner, although Trump insists he won "by a landslide" in the Republican state. Days prior, the president asked the state's House speaker for help overturning the results.
Just yesterday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the U.S. Supreme Court. In a missive, Paxton claimed that these states "exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to justify ignoring federal and state election laws and unlawfully enacting last-minute changes, thus skewing the results of the 2020 General Election. The battleground states flooded their people with unlawful ballot applications and ballots while ignoring statutory requirements as to how they were received, evaluated and counted."
Shortly after Paxton filed his lawsuit, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the corresponding states to reply.
Meanwhile, Trump's campaign has lost its last legal bid in Nevada to nullify President-elect Joe Biden’s 39,000-vote electoral win in the state, according to the Associated Press. The Electoral College will hold its nationwide tally next Monday, December 14.