YouTube Reverses Misinformation Policy, Cites Political Balance

YouTube has reversed a decision it made three years ago to ban videos claiming former President Trump won the U.S. presidential election in 2020.

The company on Friday announced it will stop removing content that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors or glitches occurred in the 2020 and other past U.S. Presidential elections.

“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,” according to the YouTube Team. 

The ability to openly debate political ideas -- even controversial ones, or those based on disproved assumptions -- is vital to a functioning democratic society, especially in the midst of election season, according to the platform.

Media companies such as Google and YouTube, as well as tech platforms, are contemplating a balance with curbing misinformation while allowing freedom of speech ahead of the 2024 election.

While removing this content does curb misinformation, it could also have the unintended effect of "curtailing political speech without meaningfully reducing the risk of violence or other real-world harm."

While the 2024 campaign election cycle is underway, YouTube has decided to stop removing content that advances false claims that fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in the 2020 and other past U.S. Presidential elections.

Trump is seeking the Republican nomination for the 2024 U.S. presidential election. Following the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, YouTube suspended Trump’s channel, saying he violated the platform’s policy against inciting violence, but then reinstated it this past March.

The platform said allowing voters to hear equally from major national candidates outweighed any potential threat of violence.

The policy, which takes effect today, does not change YouTube's other misinformation rules.

Other YouTube policies continue to apply to all on the platform, for all types of content, including elections.

This includes policies against hate speechharassment, and incitement to violence.

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