It really is remarkable, how little these big tech companies understand about the way that people who believe in conspiracies think. If you ban discussion of something, the average true believer doesn’t suddenly wake up and realise that they might have been wrong.
No. It’s evidence that big tech is part of the cover-up.
“Yesterday was the safe harbor deadline for the U.S. Presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect. Given that, we will start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. Presidential elections. For example, we will remove videos claiming that a Presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors. We will begin enforcing this policy today, and will ramp up in the weeks to come. As always, news coverage and commentary on these issues can remain on our site if there’s sufficient education, documentary, scientific or artistic context.”
The question of who won will finally be settled, for good, next week, when the US electoral college formally meets and elects the next President and Vice President. As Youtube notes, the so-called “safe harbour” deadline passed on Tuesday, meaning that the results of the elections in each state can no longer be legally challenged.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that challenges filed before the deadline can’t continue to be heard. For example, as we reported the other day, the State of Texas has launched a last-ditch effort to get the Supreme Court to throw out the results in key states won by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. No serious legal scholar thinks the case has a prayer of being heard, let alone prevailing, but it’s arguable that until such time as the Supremes either toss it, or decide to unilaterally disqualify the votes of about 30 million Americans, the result remains…. provisional.
So what, exactly, is youtube banning?
Well, they’re going to delete any videos claiming that, for example, the voting machines switched the votes in some states from Biden to Trump. That’s been a staple claim by those who’ve alleged fraud, but there’s been absolutely zero evidence produced to support it. Indeed, in Georgia, a re-count showed that the paper ballots matched the results from the machines. When that happens, you can’t continue to believe the machines were at fault – you have to believe in some other theory of fraud.
But should people be able to claim it? It strikes me that they probably should, absurd and all as it presently is.
After all, why would youtube treat this conspiracy theory any differently to, for example, the claims that 9/11 was an inside job, or whatever? Go onto their website and do a search for “9/11 truth” and you’ll find thousands of videos about how fire does not melt steel beams, and the buildings had to be detonated by remote explosive, or something like that.
And what about the JFK assassination? You can embroil yourself in conspiracy theories about that, for hours. What about claims that the Americans didn’t really go to the moon?
Why is it so much less dangerous for people to watch videos about those subjects – and there are literally thousands of them – than it is for someone to watch a video saying that the deep state stole Pennsylvania, or what have you?
In fact, it’s arguable that by clamping down on this stuff, Youtube is giving it far more legitimacy in the eyes of true believers than it gives to any other conspiracy theory.
This won’t convince anybody who believes, as an article of faith, that Trump was robbed. It will just convince them that Youtube is covering it up.
Trump, incidentally, was not robbed. All of the evidence points to the fact that he lost the election fair and square, mainly because he lost support from white voters in the big middle class areas that voted for him over Hillary Clinton in 2016. But no matter how much you walk people through that, some folks remain completely convinced to the contrary – and that’s mainly because they simply don’t trust the media, or the authorities, or the state, or big tech companies.
Conspiracy theories are, first and foremost, an expression of a lack of trust in authority. And when the authorities decide to ban discussion of certain topics, that does not increase trust. It just cements distrust, and gives people a stick to beat them with.
And besides, people can still watch this stuff, 24/7, on other platforms.
This achieves nothing.