09:31 GMT24 February 2020
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    As the 2020 US presidential election approaches, YouTube is reminding users of its community guidelines - particularly regarding heavily doctored, or “deepfake,” videos and content pertaining to demonstrably false claims such as “birtherism.”

    Google-owned video sharing platform YouTube issued an announcement via its blog on Monday reiterating the platform’s established “deceptive practice policies” and how they apply to election-related content.

    The notice, which came alongside the February 3 Iowa caucuses, highlighted three particular categories: doctored videos, misleading election information and the advancement of false claims.

    “Content that has been technically manipulated or doctored in a way that misleads users (beyond clips taken out of context) and may pose a serious risk of egregious harm” is not allowed on the platform, YouTube noted.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the victim of such content in May 2019 after a deepfake video, which depicted the congresswoman slurring her speech, went viral on social media.

    YouTube went on to highlight that content that “aims to mislead people about voting,” such as a video that promotes an incorrect date of the election, is prohibited. However, this does not apply to videos like those that drew attention to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s utterance of the wrong election date to his supporters during a 2016 campaign rally in Florida.

    Lastly, YouTube noted that it prohibits “content that advances false claims related to the technical eligibility requirements for current political candidates and sitting elected government officials to serve in office.” The company posed an example of a narrative based on claims that a “candidate is not eligible to hold office based on false information about citizenship status requirements to hold office in that country.”

    This example, of course, relates to the number of conspiracy theories that arose during former US President Barack Obama’s campaign and presidency. “Birtherism,” as it is called, was rooted in the idea that Obama was not a natural-born US citizen and therefore could not hold office of president, according to Article II of the US Constitution.

    Trump, who was simply a businessman at the time, perpetuated that narrative and even asserted that Obama’s original certificate of live birth from the Hawaii Department of Health did not prove he was born in the US.
    While this announcement was posted on YouTube’s blog on Monday, it merely serves as a reminder of policies that, in some cases, date back to 2016 and will be enforced more thoroughly as time progresses.

    The company highlighted that, as of January 2019, it has also “launched changes to our recommendations systems to limit the spread of harmful misinformation and borderline content.”

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    Tags:
    Nancy Pelosi, social media, YouTube, Deepfakes, birtherism, Donald Trump
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