By Calvin Freiburger
Google-owned video giant YouTube has announced intentions to adjust its content algorithm even more to prioritize content it favors about this November’s midterm congressional elections, in the name of combating “misinformation.”
“At YouTube, we’re constantly working to make sure we can be a reliable source for timely news and information,” the company claims in a September 1 blog post. “That’s why over the years we’ve built policies, systems and teams that raise authoritative content and limit the spread of harmful misinformation. This work is especially critical when it comes to supporting elections around the world.”
The first example of this work is that searches for midterm-related videos will prioritize “content coming from authoritative national and local news sources like PBS NewsHour, The Wall Street Journal, Univision and local ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates,” despite the left-wing bias of most mainstream media outlets.
The post details some innocuous-sounding features, such as information panels with voter registration information, but also reveals that it is “removing election content that violates our policies,” including “misleading voters on how to vote, encouraging interference in the democratic process, inciting violence, or advancing certain types of elections misinformation.”
YouTube insists this will be enforced “consistently for everyone, regardless of the speaker’s public figure status or their political viewpoint,” but that assurance is undermined in the next paragraph, which declares that videos “claiming widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, or alleging the election was stolen or rigged,” would be considered in violation of its policies.
While some outlandish claims were circulated about the 2020 election (as is the case with any national controversy), and it is impossible to know with certainty exactly how many votes were fraudulent and how they broke down between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, there is ample credible basis to doubt the outcome, from peer-reviewed evidence of substantial fraud to 28 states relaxing their vote-by-mail rules (four illegally so), massively expanding the use of a controversial voting method in which a poll worker never actually sees the individual who casts a ballot.
The assurance is also undermined by YouTube’s history of branding as “misinformation” truthful content that merely contradicts Google’s left-wing political preferences, on topics from abortion to transgenderism to COVID-19.
Conservatives argue that the manipulation of political information by the world’s most powerful communication platforms is a major threat to free and fair elections in the United States, especially when done at the behest of those already in power.