Since 2016, vast multitudes of videos have been published on YouTube claiming that Republicans stole the 2016 presidential election. However, after the 2020 election, YouTube announced a new “election misinformation policy.” They made it against the rules to say there was any fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
By their admission, YouTube has removed “tens of thousands” of videos under this rule. Even as brand new videos alleging that the 2016 was stolen continued to remain published.
Now, in a sudden reversal, YouTube says that their policy is not in the best interests of “a functioning democratic society.”
Two years, tens of thousands of video removals, and one election cycle later, we recognized it was time to reevaluate the effects of this policy in today’s changed 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. With that in mind, and with 2024 campaigns well underway, 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. This goes into effect today, Friday, June 2. As with any update to our policies, we carefully deliberated this change.