By Akerele Christabel 3:46 pm PST

Starting in 2024, YouTube seeks to stop censorship of content with false claims of electoral fraud.

On Friday, June 2, 2023, the world’s biggest video-sharing company shifted its ground on its policy towards political content that spreads information about electoral fraud. In light of the much-debated 2020 electoral results, YouTube will stop removing content with claims of malpractices in elections. The social media platform revealed this in a blog post released on Friday:

“The ability to openly debate political ideas, even those that are controversial or based on disproven assumptions, is core to a functioning democratic society — especially in the midst of election season.”

At the height of the 2020 elections, in which former US president, Donald Trump, cried foul over the conduct of the elections, YouTube embarked on a mission to remove all content that it considers politically inciting. Following this, Trump declared war against the Big Three of the social media world – Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. He filed complaints against the tech giants for illegally censoring him. He accused the social media platforms of behaving like state actors instead of private companies

At a news conference at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., Trump said, “We’re demanding an end to the shadow banning, a stop to the silencing and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and canceling that you know so well.”

This suit represented a point in a long-running toxic relationship between the former president and social media companies. After the January 6 Insurrection, where thousands of protesters stormed the US Capitol, Twitter slammed Trump with a permanent ban. Facebook suspended him for two years, while YouTube would only let him return when they “determine that the risk of violence had decreased”

Besides their companies, Trump’s lawsuits named Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai as defendants, leaving out YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.

Spokespeople for Facebook and Twitter declined to comment. YouTube and Google also refused to respond to a request for comment. In line with the predictions of legal experts, the suit was a doomed venture, as the law upheld the rights of social media platforms to determine what speech they allow.

Two years after this, YouTube has chosen to backpedal on its policy of censoring aggrieved political content.

“Two years, tens of thousands of video removals, and one election cycle later, we recognized it was time to reevaluate the effects of this policy in today’s changed landscape,” representatives of YouTube wrote. “In the current environment, we find that while removing this content does curb some misinformation, it could also have the unintended effect of curtailing political speech without meaningfully reducing the risk of violence or other real-world harm.

“With that in mind, and with 2024 campaigns well underway, we will stop removing content that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in the 2020 and other past U.S. Presidential elections.”  The social media company also pledged to remain vigilant as the 2024 elections draw near and campaigns are already underway.

In lieu of YouTube’s policy adjustment towards censoring certain political content, another political candidate seems to have suffered the same fate as former US president Donald Trump. Presidential primary candidate for the 2024 elections, Vivek Ramaswamy, reported being suspended from LinkedIn following his criticism of President Joe Biden. He revealed this in a tweet on Thursday, June 1, 2023:

“Big Tech election interference has begun: @LinkedIn locked my account & censored me this week for posting videos where I expressed fact-based views as a presidential candidate about climate policy and Biden’s relationships with China. They said it violated their policies relating to ‘misinformation, hate speech, and violence.’ Sad but not surprising.”

Ramaswamy posted a video criticizing President Joe Biden’s ties with China amidst other issues, after which his account got restricted. Ramaswamy stated that he believes his profile will be restored but also warned that Americans are at risk on LinkedIn of being censored without the ability to protest against the politically biased action.

Ramaswamy accused the Big Tech companies of doing the “back door” censorship for the government, whose hands are tied down by the constitution.

“It’s a symptom of how deep this cancer has run in our country,” he continued.

Although a LinkedIn spokesman has come out to state that the account restriction resulted from an error in operations, the conservative community remained unconvinced about the explanation as they hold on to their claims of Big Tech interference.