Common Cause Condemns YouTube’s Irresponsible and Dangerous Decision to Allow Election Lies

Today, YouTube announced it will rescind its prohibition on content that espouses election denialism and disinformation about the 2020 elections. This move comes as more 2024 candidates (including former president Trump) engage in public events which may be hosted on the platform.

 Statement of Jesse Littlewood, Common Cause vice president for campaigns

Lies about the 2020 election have been, and remain, critical drivers of political violence. YouTube’s decision today to give those lies  access to the social media platform is beyond irresponsible, it is dangerous.

We have repeatedly seen that election disinformation and election denial—especially about the 2020 elections—are critical drivers of political violence, including the January 6 insurrection. This violence plays out in a variety of ways across our country, including elections officials resigning due to harassment, threats, and violence enacted against them and their families, emboldened anti-democracy groups who undertake so-called “election integrity” actions, and voters who are increasingly facing intimidation at the polls.

This is a dangerous decision from YouTube, a platform that consistently puts profit over corporate responsibility and democracy itself. Extremist groups have exploited the corporate greed and reluctance by the platforms to moderate content allowing disinformation and hate speech to spread. This allows marginalized voices to be silenced while polarizing voices, and those advocating violence are amplified exponentially.

YouTube’s guidelines will continue to prohibit content that gives voters the incorrect information about elections, calls on people to interfere with democratic processes like elections, and incites violence.

Today’s decision shows YouTube is willing to change its rules despite knowing the dangers of election disinformation.