Google and YouTube lay out their plans for the US midterm elections – TechCrunch

Google and its YouTube video-sharing app this week laid out plans to handle the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, highlighting the tools at its disposal to limit efforts to limit the spread of political misinformation.

When users search for election content on Google or YouTube, recommendation systems are in place to highlight journalism or video content from authoritative national and local news sources such as The Wall Street Journal, Univision, PBS NewsHour and local affiliates of ABC, CBS and NBC.

In today’s blog post, YouTube noted that it has removed “a number of videos” about the US midterm elections that violate its policies, including videos that make false statements about the 2020 election. YouTube’s rules also prohibit inaccurate videos about how to vote, videos inciting violence, and any other content it believes interferes with the democratic process. The platform adds that it issued warnings to YouTube channels that violate mid-stream policies and temporarily suspended some channels from posting new videos.

Google and YouTube lay out their plans for the US midterm elections – TechCrunch

Picture credits: Google

Google Search will now make it easier for users to search for local and regional news coverage of the election in different states. The company is also rolling out a tool on Google Search that it has used before, which directs voters to accurate information about voter registration and how to vote. Google will work with The Associated Press again this year to provide users with authoritative election results in search.

YouTube will also direct voters to a voting information panel and a link to Google’s “how to vote” and “how to register to vote” features. Other election-related features YouTube announced today include voter registration and election resources reminders, information panels below videos, authoritative recommended videos in its “watch next” panels and an educational media literacy campaign with guidance on disinformation tactics.

On Election Day, YouTube will share a link to Google’s election results tracker, highlight election night live streams and include election results below videos. The platform will also launch a tool in the coming weeks that will give people looking for federal candidates a panel highlighting essential information, such as what office they are running for and what their political party is.

Google and YouTube lay out their plans for the US midterm elections – TechCrunch

Picture credits: Youtube

With two months to go until Election Day, Google’s announcement marks a tech giant’s latest attempt to prepare for a pivotal moment in US history. Meta, TikTok and Twitter also recently explained how they will approach the 2022 US midterm elections.

YouTube has come under intense scrutiny over its handling of the 2020 presidential election, waiting until December 2020 to announce a policy that would apply to the misinformation swirling around the month’s election. previous.

Prior to the policy’s launch, the platform would not remove videos containing misleading election-related claims, allowing speculation and misinformation to flourish. This included a One America News Network (OAN) video released the day after the 2020 election falsely claiming that Trump had won the election. The video has been viewed more than 340,000 times, but YouTube did not immediately remove it, saying the video did not violate its rules.

In a new study, researchers from New York University have found that YouTube’s recommendation system played a role in spreading misinformation about the 2020 presidential election. October 29 to December 8, 2020 , researchers analyzed YouTube usage by 361 people to determine whether YouTube’s recommendation system directed users to misrepresentations about the election immediately after the election. The researchers concluded that participants who were highly skeptical of the legitimacy of the election were recommended to have significantly more claims related to voter fraud than participants who were unsure of the election results.

YouTube pushed back against the study in a conversation with TechCrunch, arguing that its small sample size undermined its potential conclusions. “While we welcome more research, this report does not accurately represent how our systems are working,” YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi told TechCrunch. “We’ve found that the most viewed and recommended election-related videos and channels come from authoritative sources, such as news channels.”

The researchers acknowledged that the number of fraud-related videos in the study was low overall and that the data did not take into account the channels participants subscribed to. Nonetheless, YouTube is clearly a key conduit for potential political misinformation — and one to watch as the United States heads into its midterm elections this fall.


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