The company has taken steps in recent months to label election entries and direct users to “credible news sources” about the outcome, but has stopped outright banning unfounded allegations of rigged elections.
YouTube said it would start enforcing the policy now that the deadline for states to close disputes over the outcome of the election was agreed by states on Tuesday. “Today we will start enforcing this policy and we will stand up in the coming weeks” the company said.
Policies under fire: A group of Senate Democrats in a letter last month called on the company to take more aggressive action to curb election misinformation.
“We are writing to express our deep concern at the spread of misinformation on your platform during and immediately after the 2020 elections, as well as in the light of the upcoming elections in Georgia,” wrote lawmakers led by Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J). .)
Democrats have raised a particular problem with the fact that the company “in particular refused to prohibit users from posting false content about the election results or how state and local officials counted the votes”.
Conservative kickback: Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), An outspoken critic of Google and one of Trump’s most important allies in social media matters, viewed YouTube’s decision as an insult to free speech. And he drew attention to the call to repeal section 230 of the 1996 Act, which protects online companies from lawsuits over the content they store and their cops.
“@Google, owned by @YouTube, has officially announced that free speech is no longer allowed,” he tweeted in response to YouTube’s announcement. “If you have concerns about the integrity of the election, you have to sit down and stop. It repeals Article 230 and crushes these companies.”
What is the next step: Trump’s legal team continues to demand widespread fraud and seek to overthrow the election results, but exceeding the “safe harbor” deadline is highly unlikely to make this effort a success. However, the Conservatives ’heightened anger at social media company entries could continue next year and could give further impetus to Republican efforts to limit laws that give them liability protection around user content.