The video-sharing platform announced in a Dec. 9 update that its goal of “limiting the reach of misinformation and removing harmful content,” which it pursued during the 2020 elections, requires more restrictions.
YouTube said the algorithms and policies that it implemented for the 2020 presidential election effectively silenced dissenting voices and ensured that corporate media organizations controlled the flow of information.
“And some videos, while not recommended prominently on YouTube, continue to get high views, sometimes coming from other sites,” the company said in the update. “We’re continuing to consider this and other new challenges as we make ongoing improvements.”
The top five most-viewed videos and most-watched channels were from partisan Democratic outlets, including ABC News, USA Today, NBC News, CBS News and CNN.
YouTube was able to ensure that 88% of the time the top-10 videos on searches for election content came from “authoritative news source,” and that alternative and independent channels were excluded, even if their information was more popular and trustworthy.
Restrictions on independent news sources and commentators make them 20 times less likely to appear in top searches for coronavirus-related content, 14 times less likely for election-related content, and 10 times less likely for all other news.
“Despite these encouraging results, we recognize there’s always more to do,” the company said. “For example, while problematic misinformation represents a fraction of 1% of what’s watched on YouTube in the U.S., we know we can bring that number down even more.”
YouTube has multiple tools to censor conservative videos, including age-restricting content without justification, using complicated and intimidating warning systems, or outright blocking certain links.