YouTube removed several livestream channels set up to capitalise on voter anxiety over our collective national nightmare on Election Night, claiming that the bogus election results they were broadcasting to millions of viewers ran afoul of the platform’s community guidelines.
Before any state’s polls had even closed in Tuesday’s general election, YouTube channels boasting fake results graphics began cropping up in the returns for searches like “LIVE 2020 Presidential Election Results” and “Election results 2020”. An investigation by Insider found that at least one of the channels had more than 1.4 million subscribers, and four of them were verified. At least three of the channels reviewed had already been able to use the scam to turn a quick buck by allowing advertisements to play before the fake election results via YouTube’s advertising services.
One of the particularly egregious offenders appears to have been a channel with more than 650,000 subscribers called Seven Hip-Hop, which bills itself as “a community hip-hop channel that works closely with labels and independent artists” and is not even trying a little bit to seem like it has anything to do with electoral politics.
In a statement issued in response to the Insider article, YouTube said that it would be “removing livestreams that violate our Community Guidelines,” after a careful review of the streams in question.
“We have established policies prohibiting spam, deceptive practices & scams, and we continue to be vigilant with regards to election-related content in the lead-up and post-election period,” the statement read.
In the lead-up to Election Day, platforms have taken special care to update their community guidelines in order to limit the spread of disinformation. On the eve of the election, Twitter moved to block one of President Donald Trump’s blatantly false tweets about the potential for voter fraud, claiming that it had violated new election-specific aimed at minimising propaganda from“US political figures (including candidates and campaign accounts).”