YouTube has removed a video from President Donald Trump addressing a mob attack on the Capitol today because the president repeats false information about the outcome of the 2020 election, The Verge has learned.
The company will allow Trump’s message to appear in other creators’ videos if there is proper educational or news context; basically, if people are talking about Trump’s message as part of a greater point, YouTube will allow it to remain up. The removal comes after YouTube instituted a new policy update in December 2020 that forbids any type of content that alleges widespread voter fraud impacted the results of the 2020 presidential election. In Trump’s new video, which was also posted to Twitter and Facebook, he continued to spread misinformation about the 2020 election, calling the results fraudulent.
“We had an election that was stolen from us,” Trump stated falsely. “It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.”
He also used the video to call on rioters to “go home” following hours of the attack. Trump did not denounce any violence that occurred today. Twitter initially placed restrictions on his video, preventing people from liking, retweeting, or replying to Trump’s original post. Twitter cited “risks of violence” as the reason. Some time later, Twitter fully removed the video and two other tweets, saying they violated its rules. Trump’s post on Facebook initially received a label saying, “The US has laws, procedures, and established institutions to ensure the integrity of our elections,” but it has since removed it completely.
YouTube’s move comes after the company faced criticism over the way it handled misinformation appearing on its platform the day of the election. At the time, YouTube defended leaving up a number of videos from outlets like OANN and individual creators that flocked to the site to spread misinformation about fraudulent results. Videos with titles like “Trump Won. MSM hopes you don’t believe your eyes” were allowed to remain.
“Like other companies, we’re allowing these videos because discussion of election results & the process of counting votes is allowed on YT. These videos are not being surfaced or recommended in any prominent way,” YouTube wrote on Twitter at the time.
Since then, YouTube has reevaluated its policies. Today, as people live-streamed the attack on Capitol and posted videos, the moderation teams are “working to quickly remove livestreams and other content that violates our policies, including those against incitement to violence or regarding footage of graphic violence,” a spokesperson told The Verge. That didn’t stop a few channels from using the attack to monetize their own live streams. YouTube has not said if it will revoke those payments if the streams are found to violate the company’s guidelines.
Update January 6th, 6:45PM ET: Updated to note that Twitter also eventually pulled the video.