YouTube said on Wednesday that it would remove misleading content about the results of the presidential election, including claims that the outcome was shaped by widespread fraud.
The platform has been criticized for allowing content to proliferate with unsubstantiated claims and conspiracy theories, advanced by such media outlets as One America News Network, personalities such as Lou Dobbs and by President Donald Trump.
In a blog post, YouTube noted that Tuesday marked the “safe harbor deadline” in the election, or the date by which state-level challenges are supposed to have been resolved. More importantly, enough states have certified the results to confirm Joe Biden as the electoral college victory.
“Given that, we 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,” YouTube said in a blog post. “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.”
YouTube said that since September, that have “terminated over 8000 channels and thousands of harmful and misleading elections-related videos for violating our existing policies.” The platform said that over 77% of the videos were taken down before they reached 100 views.
Trump and his supporters have lost dozens of legal challenges. A case brought by a group of Republican lawmakers, challenging absentee ballots in Pennsylvania in an effort to overturn the will of the voters there, was rejected by the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Trump is now backing a lawsuit brought by the attorney general of Texas, in which he is seeking to overturn the results in four swing states where the results have been certified in favor of Biden.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday, “Overturn.”