YouTube To Remove Election Misinformation — Here’s What Will Remain

The nation has reached safe harbor, and in this election, that’s a very apt name. However, with Trump allies and conspiracy theorists still trying to disrupt the process with false and unproven claims, YouTube is stepping in to give another little corner of the internet some protection from the storm.

YouTube will block election misinformation and conspiracy theories
[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

Specifically, ‘safe harbor’ in this context is, as explained by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the date by which all election disputes must be resolved. This passed on December 8th, and YouTube is using it as a dividing line.

With the safe harbor date behind us, the video site explains, they’ll no longer allow videos to be added to the site promoting conspiracy theories about the election outcome, including “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.” One example YouTube names is “videos claiming that a Presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors.”

Some conservatives are already complaining that this is censorship, partisan, and unfair. Of course, YouTube is not government, and the censorship argument is quickly shot down since the right to free speech doesn’t guarantee the right to use anyone else’s platform to promote that speech.

However, the question remains, what videos in this realm will still be allowed?

YouTube isn’t saying they’ll take down any false election conspiracy content that is already up, so unless that changes, videos that already make these allegations should remain. Also, the site promises that news content and commentary will remain active as long as they have education, documentary, scientific, or artistic context — so, for instance, a video documenting a protest in favor of Trump remaining in office would likely be permissible as documentation. Videos of the President, Press Secretary, or other appointed or elected officials spreading these conspiracy theories would presumably also be considered historical and important to document and preserve.

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