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Researchers Find A Top YouTube Video Of Election Results To Be A Fake

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Thousands of people may have been duped into streaming a fake YouTube video purporting to show election night results, according to a coalition of independent researchers.

Researchers at the Election Integrity Project revealed that a video titled “LIVE 2020 Presidential Election Results” on a public YouTube channel with more than 650,000 followers was one of Google’s top five results for vote tallies in swing states.

One problem: It was a total fake.

After discovering the problem, YouTube removed the video, which was being hosted on a page dedicated to hip-hop music.

According to Insider, before YouTube removed the misleading stream, it had numerous imitators popping up in search results.

At one point, eight out of the top 20 YouTube videos claiming to be election livestreams were fake, offering up spam in an apparent attempt to generate revenue from advertisements that play ahead of a stream, the publication reported.

Capitalizing on high interest, such fraudulent videos can quickly find viewers before being detected by the platform, the researchers noted.

“Before the video was taken down, it rose to become one of Google’s most widely circulated videos in swing states,” researchers with the Election Integrity Project tweeted Tuesday night.

“This underscores how platforms have continued to struggle with misinformation despite the development of new policies,” the group of researchers said.

YouTube responded by saying the video was “quickly removed” for violating its community guidelines.

“We have established policies prohibiting spam, deceptive practices & scams, and we continue to be vigilant with regards to election-related content in the lead-up and post-election period,” a YouTube spokesperson tweeted.