2022 Race

Youtube to remove unproven voter fraud content

youtube fake news election
Illustration: ART PAL/Shutterstock

Youtube announced on Tuesday that it is taking multiple steps to reduce the spread of misinformation on its platform that could influence elections in Brazil later this year.

The video hosting company is among several big tech players that entered an agreement with the Superior Electoral Court in February to prevent a flood of fake news that might impact public discourse in the country.

The new policy announced by Youtube — just days after the Supreme Court issued (but soon after revoked) a ban against messaging app Telegram — is in line with company policy during 2020 elections in the U.S., and in Germany last year.

YouTube warned that it will remove posts that claim the 2018 Brazilian election was rigged or that encourage people to interfere with the democratic process. Discrediting the electronic voting system has been a key point in President Jair Bolsonaro’s discourse — the head of state even pushed for the return of paper ballots as a complementary feature to the 100-percent voting system.

Content will be moderated so as not to remove informative posts, according to Youtube. “A report on a local official claiming that the 2018 Brazilian presidential election was fraudulent would continue to air as long as it became clear that the video was only reporting this information, not endorsing it,” the company says.

“We’ve adjusted the recommendations system to decrease views of videos that come close to violating community guidelines. Our goal is to keep recommendation views for dubious content below 0.5 percent,” Alana Rizzo, YouTube’s public policy manager for Brazil, wrote on the company’s blog.