YouTube just announced that channels publishing “false claims” about the U.S. presidential election will be penalized with a strike, which would temporarily suspend them from posting videos.
If you’re wondering why it took this long, YouTube announced last month (a full month after the presidential election, but right after the “safe harbor” deadline for audits and recounts) that it would remove videos alleging widespread fraud or errors in the election. However, there was a grace period during which videos would be removed without additional penalty to the account.
YouTube says that grace period was supposed to expire on January 21, after Inauguration Day. But since the election results were certified early this morning, after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, the Google-owned video platform says it’s ending the grace period now.
YouTube also says it has already removed “thousands of videos that spread misinformation claiming widespread voter fraud changed the result of the 2020 election, including several videos President Trump posted to his channel.” That includes taking down a video Trump posted yesterday in which he told rioters, “Go home, we love you. You’re very special.”
The penalties for a strike differ depending on the number of offenses. A first strike results in a one-week suspension of the ability to post videos or livestreams, edit playlists or share other content on YouTube. If an account gets a second strike in a 90-day period, they’ll be suspended for two weeks, with a third strike resulting in permanent removal.
A Google spokesperson provided the following statement on the changes:
Over the last month, we’ve removed thousands of videos that spread misinformation claiming widespread voter fraud changed the result of the 2020 election, including several videos that President Trump posted yesterday to his channel. Due to the disturbing events that transpired yesterday, and given that the election results have been certified, any channel posting new videos with these false claims in violation of our policies will now receive a strike, a penalty that temporarily restricts uploading or livestreaming. Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from YouTube.