This study by the EU Disinfo Lab shows how certain versions of Hold-Up, a notorious conspiracy “documentary” on COVID-19 released in November 2020, remained available on YouTube for months despite the fact that this “documentary” features a vast amount of false and misleading information regarding the pandemic (see the comments of the AFP Factuel). The various versions that remained available have accumulated at least 4.5 million views since November 2020. According to the EU Disinfo Lab, the discrepancy between YouTube’s quick removal of the conspiracy film Plandemic (US) and their relative inaction regarding Hold-Up (France) suggests the existence of a “double standard” in moderation on the part of Google (YouTube) depending on the country and the size of the market in question. Moreover, the limited measures taken by YouTube have facilitated the distribution of Hold-Up on other platforms.
This study was shared by the media outlet Politico, which examined more closely the way in which Hold-Up continued to be distributed on Facebook. YouTube reacted to the Politico article, with a spokesperson for the platform stating that “as the COVID-19 situation has evolved, we have continued to update our policies related to health misinformation. We have removed the Hold-Up video because it now violates YouTube’s policies.” YouTube has also removed all of the versions of Hold-Up that the EU Disinfo Lab identified in its study.