YouTube to remove content that alleges widespread voter fraud in 2020 election

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YouTube will remove videos and content that allege widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election starting Wednesday.

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Wednesday was the country's "safe harbor deadline," or the deadline by which state-level election audits and recounts are supposed to be completed.

"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. [p]residential election, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. [p]residential elections," YouTube wrote in a Wednesday blog post.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., criticized YouTube's announcement in a Wednesday tweet.

"[Google] owned [YouTubbe] officially announcing free speech no longer allowed," Hawley tweeted. "If you have concerns about election integrity, you must sit down and shut up. Repeal Section 230 and break these companies up."

Videos claiming President Trump or any other candidate besides President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election "due to widespread software glitches or counting errors," for example, will be removed starting Wednesday.

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YouTube will allow news covering issues related to the 2020 election so as long as there is "sufficient education, documentary, scientific or artistic context," the blog post said.

"Our main goal going into the election season was to make sure we’re connecting people with authoritative information, while also limiting the reach of misinformation and removing harmful content. The work here is ongoing and we wanted to provide an update," YouTube said.

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Starting Wednesday, YouTube will update its information panel linking to Google's results panel, which used information from the Associated Press and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) “Rumor Control” page to prevent the spread of false information. The updated panel will link to the Office of the Federal Register's "2020 Electoral College Results" page.

Since Nov. 3, YouTube's third-party fact-check panels have appeared more than 200,000 times above search results regarding voter fraud narratives, such as those related to Dominion Voting Systems.

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