YouTube has reversed its policy that prohibited people from questioning or denying the results of the 2020 election.
In a blog post announcing the change to the elections misinformation policy, the platform said it will be “providing a home for open discussion and debate during the ongoing election season.”
“When we craft our policies, we always keep two goals in mind: protecting our community, and providing a home for open discussion and debate,” the announcement said. “These goals are sometimes in tension with each other, and there is perhaps no area where striking a balance is more complex than political speech. The ability to openly debate political ideas, even those that are controversial or based on disproven assumptions, is core to a functioning democratic society–especially in the midst of election season.”
YouTube said that over the last two years, there have been “tens of thousands of video removals” for denying the results of the 2020 election.
“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,” YouTube said. “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.”
When people search for news and information about elections, YouTube says it will still highlight “content from authoritative sources prominently in search and recommendations.”
“For example, following the 2020 US election, we found that videos from authoritative sources like news outlets represented the most viewed and most recommended election videos on YouTube,” the post said. “And our 2020 election information panels, with relevant context from voting locations, to live election results, were collectively shown over 4.5 billion times.”
The changes went into effect on the day of the announcement, Friday, June 2.
It is unclear if YouTube will be reinstated the accounts that were previously banned under the prior version of the policy.
Timcast News has reached out to YouTube for clarification and will update this story if it is provided.
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