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YouTube removes Long ad for violating election integrity policies

YouTube has taken down Congressman Billy Long’s recent ad for his U.S. Senate bid for violating its election integrity policy. 

In response, the Republican congressman accused YouTube of promoting a trend to “censor and cancel conservative candidates and public figures.” 

The ad, which was slated to air on the right-wing Newsmax and One America News (OAN) television stations, highlighted Long’s early support for former President Donald Trump but repeated the unfounded claim that “Democrats rigged the election” in 2020. 

“As we’ve clearly and publicly outlined, we prohibit content uploaded after official election results were certified advancing false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election,” Ivy Choi, a spokesperson for YouTube, said in an email. “Our policies apply equally for everyone, and we remove content that violates our election integrity policy, regardless of the speaker.” 

But Long, who is one of a bevy of Republican candidates vying for the open U.S. Senate seat in Missouri, said the removal of his ad was proof “Big Tech certainly has and will continue to influence elections.” 

“I am not alone in getting canceled by YouTube. There has been a deliberate, orchestrated effort by Big Tech to silence those who have views that do not align with their liberal-leaning agenda. Just look at what Twitter did to President Trump,” Long said. “He is still banned from communicating directly to the American people on its platform. Meanwhile, YouTube protects the platforms of losing candidates like Stacey Abrams and Hillary Clinton who continue to question their election outcomes.” 

“This behavior by YouTube is un-American and straight from the communist playbook,” Long added. “That is why I am running for U.S. Senate — to hold Big Tech accountable for these overreaching actions and to protect the right of the American people to have free speech.” 

YouTube’s policies state it will remove content that “misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election” once enough states certified their election results. It said news and commentary videos with “sufficient” artistic, documentary, education or scientific context could remain. 

It further said: 

“Our policies prohibit misleading viewers about where and how to vote. We also disallow content alleging widespread voter fraud or errors changed the outcome of a historical U.S. presidential election. However in some cases, that has meant allowing controversial views on the outcome or process of counting votes of a current election as election officials have worked to finalize counts.” 

Long is among a field of contenders vying for an open U.S. Senate seat in Missouri. Trump has yet to endorse in the race, and candidates have flocked to Trump properties and cast themselves in his image throughout the race. Long is working with Jamestown Associates, which did media for Trump, and Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor who also served as Trump’s 2016 campaign manager.

In a recent interview with the former president, conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt implored Trump not to endorse former Gov. Eric Greitens who resigned as Missouri’s chief executive amid multiple investigations into sexual misconduct and campaign finance allegations. 

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, and attorney Mark McCloskey are also vying for the GOP nomination.