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YouTube reverses course, will not take down controversial or disproven political content

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In the run-up to the next US Presidential election, YouTube has announced that it won’t remove videos that are “controversial or based on disproven assumptions”. It said that allowing these videos to stay online was vital to the functioning of a democratic society as they allow for open discussions and debates.

The updated misinformation policy is an important change and will be met with differing opinions. While it’s removing this policy, YouTube will still take action against videos that mislead voters on voting requirements or use false claims to discourage voting.

The company said it will also make videos from authoritative news sources more prominent in search and in the recommendations too; some of these channels include ABC News, USA TODAY, NBC News, CBS News, Fox News, and CNN. Under the new misinformation policy, voters should be able to also turn to more fringe YouTube channels that promote more heterodox viewpoints.

“We know citizens take the integrity of the democratic process incredibly seriously, and so do we,” the YouTube team said. “We’ll remain vigilant as the election unfolds, as we did in 2020, and again in 2022.”

“[W]e have an elections-focused team, including members of our Intelligence Desk, Trust & Safety and product teams, monitoring real-time developments and making adjustments to our strategy as needed. We’ll have more details to share about our approach towards the 2024 election in the months to come.”

Many of the misinformation policies that came about on social media, including YouTube, were a direct result of some of the claims that then-President Donald Trump made, which critics alleged were misleading.

The next Presidential election is due to take place next November. Prior to the election, the Republican Party will have to select a nominee. According to the latest polls, Donald Trump is far ahead of the pack at 53.9% with Ron DeSantis in second place on 21.1%.

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