YouTube to Delete Election Misinformation As Donald Trump Continues to Claim Vote 'Rigged'

YouTube has pledged to remove video content that could mislead users by alleging fraud played a role in the outcome of the 2020 election, as President Donald Trump continues to claim the results were "rigged" against him.

The Google-owned video giant announced on Wednesday it will delete any new uploads containing misinformation about widespread electoral abuse, including baseless claims that a political candidate won due to "software glitches or counting errors."

"We will begin enforcing this policy today, and will ramp up in the weeks to come," the company said on its official blog. The enforcement decision comes more than a month after the 2020 election, which was won by Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

In the weeks after polling closed, President Trump has repeatedly claimed without any evidence that voting machines across the U.S. were manipulated, and has refused to concede, claiming that his opponents were trying to "steal" the election.

Since December 1, President Trump has tweeted at least six times the election results were "rigged," as his team continues a largely unsuccessful tactic of filing legal cases across the country in an attempt to challenge the outcome of the vote.

Today, the outgoing president tweeted the single word "OVERTURN" after writing: "ALL data taken after the vote says that it was impossible for me to lose, unless FIXED!"


— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2020


— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2020

No candidate has ever won both Florida and Ohio and lost. I won them both, by a lot! #SupremeCourt

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2020

The safe harbor deadline, which further cements Biden's victory in Congress by locking in state election results and certifications, took place on December 8.

YouTube said: "Yesterday was the safe harbor deadline for the presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect."

"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," the blog post continued.

The company said that since September it has removed more than 8,000 channels and "thousands" of harmful or misleading election videos for violating policies. It said that over 77 percent of those had been taken offline before attracting 100 views.

The video platform faced criticism in November amid claims it was failing to adequately stop election misinformation, including from pro-Trump news channels.

YouTube took action against One America News Network (OANN), an organization that has been promoted by the president, on November 24, suspending and demonetizing the outlet for a week over repeated violations of a COVID misinformation policy.

In November, YouTube said it was permitting OANN content with false claims "because discussion of election results and the process of counting votes is allowed."

But in its blog post today, the company said its moderation teams are working to strike a balance between what content is allowed and what has to be removed.

YouTube elaborated: "We... disallow content alleging widespread fraud or errors that changed the outcome of a historical U.S. Presidential election. 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."

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on December 7, 2020. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty