Hundreds of videos were removed from YouTube after the US presidential election
More than one fourth of videos recommended on election eve have since been removed. Why?
On the eve of the US presidential election, we used this recommendation explorer to extract a sample of 800 unique videos recommended by YouTube in response to searches about a presidential candidates.
More than 200 of these videos have since been removed, some of them by YouTube, and others by the content creators themselves.
The most viewed videos that disappeared were:
“This video will get Trump Elected” (10 million views)
That video was not only, but in the top 1% of the most recommended by YouTube’s A.I. out of our sample. Surprisingly, the creator of the video removed it after the election.
“Must Watch!! Hillary Clinton tried to ban this video” (5 million views)
The account associated with that video was terminated by YouTube’s abuse team. Surprisingly, that video was also in the top 1% of the most recommended videos.
Here are some examples of the 200+ videos recommended by YouTube on election day, and removed afterwards:
- “FBI Exposes Clinton Pedophile Satanic Network” (video made private after the election)
- “Spirit Cooking With The Clintons” (video made private after the election)
- “Julian ASSANGE We have put CLINTON in prison, Wikileaks e mail” (video made private after the election)
- “BOOM NYPD Announces They Are Preparing To Arrest Hillary Clinton!!! “ (account terminated)
- “Did Hillary Clinton raped Cathy Obrien” (account terminated)
- “Urgent Update WW3 Putin Prepares Russia For World War III” (video made private after the election)
- “Child Rape Victim Speaks Out Against Hillary Clinton” (account terminated)
- “NYPD Planned To Expose Hillary Pedophile Ring In Press Conference” (account terminated)
- “Wikileaks Set To Release More Clinton Satanism Child Abuse Info” (account terminated)
- “Hillary Clinton’s Rape Allegations Revealed” (video made private after the election)
Why it matters
The removal of these videos is a symptom of large-scale misinformation associated with the US presidential election: the removed videos among the 800 we analyzed account for tens of millions of views. Based on this, we estimate hundreds of millions of views of political YouTube videos are associated with videos removed in the aftermath of the presidential election.
YouTube abuse team takes a long time to examine and ban videos. This delay enables accounts and videos violating the terms of service to still be viewed a large number of times, especially if they strongly appeal to a particular constituency. This might also impact upcoming elections in the rest of the world.
Finally, by uploading defamatory content on YouTube before a critical period, and removing the videos afterwards, content creators can effectively promote defamatory videos without liability.