YouTube announced Wednesday that it will begin removing content that alleges widespread fraud or voting irregularities in the 2020 U.S. presidential election now that the safe harbor deadline for the election has passed.
Any new content uploaded to the video hosting platform after Tuesday that alleges widespread fraud changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election will be removed, the company said in a blog post.
"Our policies prohibit misleading viewers about where and how to vote. We also disallow content alleging widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of a historical U.S. Presidential election," the company explained. "However in some cases, that has meant allowing controversial views on the outcome or process of counting votes of a current election as election officials have worked to finalize counts."
"Yesterday was the safe harbor deadline for the U.S. Presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect," YouTube continued. "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."
New videos, for example, that claim former Vice President Joe Biden won the election due to "software glitches or counting errors" associated with Dominion Voting Systems will be targeted for removal.
The content censorship comes as Texas has filed a lawsuit, supported by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri, alleging that four battleground states exploited the coronavirus pandemic to make unconstitutional changes to mail-in voting rules. The lawsuit seeks to delay the Electoral College vote to select the next U.S. president until investigations into possible election fraud are completed.
In recent weeks, YouTube has faced heavy criticism for permitting videos that dispute the election results to be uploaded on its platform. Wednesday's statement addressed the potential conflict between demands from the left to censor so-called "misinformation" and complaints from the right about free speech.
"We understand the need for intense scrutiny on our elections-related work. Our teams work hard to ensure we are striking a balance between allowing for a broad range of political speech and making sure our platform isn't abused to incite real-world harm or broadly spread harmful misinformation," YouTube said.
YouTube content creators like BlazeTV host Dave Rubin reported receiving an email from YouTube Wednesday explaining the new policy.
"Adios free speech. The bannings are coming," Rubin said, sharing a screenshot of an email explaining that any video "alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election" will be removed.
Holy shit just got this email from YouTube. Starting today they will remove content about election fraud...even t… https://t.co/yd6YHhm3Id— Dave Rubin (@Dave Rubin)1607527665.0
"There's a historic lawsuit at the Supreme Court alleging massive fraud in our election but we can't talk about it on @YouTube," video producer Robby Starbuck said. "This censorship does the exact opposite of what they intend for it to do. It will only solidify the belief many have that the elite stole the presidency."
"Notice, they did no such thing with the Russia collusion conspiracy theories that went on for years," radio talk show and BlazeTV host Mark Levin tweeted.
Big Tech, oligopoly of the Left and Democrats; notice, they did no such thing with all the Russia collusion conspir… https://t.co/J4dtutkRip— Mark R. Levin (@Mark R. Levin)1607528639.0
"These are editorial guidelines," YouTuber Tim Pool said. "Time to start suing Youtube as they are now issuing direct guidance on what you can publish outside what is prescribed in Section 230."