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YouTube announces it will remove any content alleging widespread voter fraud in 2020 presidential election

Google-owned video platform YouTube announced Wednesday that they will immediately begin taking down 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. The move was decried as blatant censorship by many on social media.

YouTube announced in a blog post that the social media platform will delete videos after Tuesday that allege widespread fraud changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. They also announced YouTube will be promoting news sources such as NBC and CBS in video recommendations.

“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 stated. “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.”

For example, videos that posit Biden won the election due to “software glitches or counting errors” associated with Dominion Voting Systems will be targeted for removal.

This move is happening right after Texas filed a lawsuit, supported by ten states, alleging that four battleground states — Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin — 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.

YouTube has been criticized over the last few weeks 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… with the right losing out.

“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 commented.

A group of Senate Democrats called on the company in a letter last month to take more aggressive action to crack down on election-related misinformation.

“We write to express our deep concern regarding the proliferation of misinformation on your platform during and immediately following the 2020 elections and in light of the upcoming Georgia run-off elections,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

Democrats took particular issue with the fact that the company “notably refused to prohibit users from posting false content on the outcome of the election or the manner in which state and local officials counted votes.”

Content creators received an email from YouTube Wednesday explaining the new policy.

“Adios free speech. The bannings are coming,” BlazeTV host Dave Rubin said, sharing a screenshot of an email from YouTube.

“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 also 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.

“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.”

The company also said that it will “guide” people to “authoritative information” provided by corporate news outlets such as ABC, CBS, NBC, or CNN. Those news outlets have provided little coverage of lawsuits or allegations of election fraud and have biased, leftist leanings.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), an outspoken Google critic, lambasted YouTube’s decision as an affront on free speech. And he seized on the shift to renew calls to revoke Section 230, the 1996 law that shields online companies from lawsuits over the content they host and how they police it.

“@Google owned @YouTube officially announcing free speech no longer allowed,” he tweeted in response to YouTube’s announcement. “If you have concerns about election integrity, you must sit down and shut up. Repeal Section 230 and break these companies up.”

The move by YouTube will almost certainly result in a number of lawsuits.

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