The senators point to one example of a YouTube video that falsely claims there’s evidence of voter fraud in Michigan, noting that it has more than 5 million views.
Misinformation isn’t a new problem for YouTube, but the US election has thrown this issue into stark relief. The platform rolled out a few policies earlier this year designed to curtail election lies, pledging to remove videos encouraging voting interference and those based on information surfaced in hacks on the democratic process. It also added panels underneath election-related videos offering “authoritative information” on the situation.
Still, YouTube has allowed videos challenging the outcome of the presidential election to remain live, and fringe, right-wing channels that spread much of this misinformation are experiencing a period of growth on the platform.
The Democratic senators have outlined five questions for YouTube and they’re requesting a response by December 8th. The prompts are as follows, as listed in the letter:
Will YouTube commit to removing content containing false or misleading information as to the outcome of the 2020 elections and the upcoming elections in Georgia? If not, why?
What steps has YouTube implemented since announcing its prohibition on voter suppression content?
What steps will YouTube take to ensure that the platform is free from content that suppresses voting, incites violence, or makes false claims concerning the casting of ballots surrounding the January 2021 Georgia run-off elections?
Please provide our offices with any YouTube research concerning the platform’s amplification of groups or organizations using YouTube to spread election misinformation.
How much in ad revenue did YouTube receive from videos showing election result misinformation?