YouTube criticised for not removing video claiming Trump victory

By Ellen Daniel

Video sharing platform Youtube has faced criticism for failing to remove a video that falsely claims President Donald Trump has won the 2020 US presidential election.

The video, produced by far-right news channel One America News Network and posted on 4 November, features a news anchor incorrectly claiming that Trump had won four more years in office.

Anchor Christina Bobb described it as “a decisive victory for Trump”, accusing the “Democrat leadership” in some of the states where vote counting is ongoing of partaking in voter fraud. So far, no evidence of voter fraud has emerged.

The video has now been watched over 420,000 times, with YouTube responding by removing ads from the video so the content is demonetised. As of May 2020, YouTube has 2 billion users worldwide.

YouTube’s community guidelines prohibit “content aiming to mislead voters about the time, place, means or eligibility requirements for voting, or false claims that could materially discourage voting” as well as “incitement to interfere with democratic processes”, but do not cover false claims of victory after voting has closed.

A YouTube spokesperson said “the content of this video doesn’t rise to that level, so it wasn’t removed”.

Social media firms have been under pressure to keep on top of misinformation spread by President Trump. Earlier this week, Twitter added a warning to a Trump tweet on the grounds that the content was “disputed” and “might be misleading about an election or other civic process”. The tweet was hidden, with users required to click “view” to see the tweet.

Facebook also introduced notifications informing Facebook and Instagram users that votes are still being counted and a winner is not projected and labelling candidates’ posts.

Earlier this year, YouTube published a blog post outlining its response to election-related content, including remove election-related content that violates its policies, promoting authoritative election news and reducing the spread of election misinformation.


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