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How YouTube is supporting the 2024 European Parliamentary elections

Election voting information on YouTube

Images, headlines, and sources are simulated to illustrate this feature.

With one month to go until polls close across the 27 EU member states, we’re sharing an overview of our efforts to help people across Europe and beyond find helpful and authoritative election news and information. Whether that’s searching for where to vote, understanding the candidates’ positions, or learning about the issues shaping the debate, our dedicated teams are working non-stop to have the right policies and systems in place. Here’s what we’re doing to ensure high quality election content thrives on YouTube.

Election candidate information on YouTube

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Helping voters find authoritative content

For the 2024 European Parliamentary Elections, here are the features you’ll begin to see as we connect voters with the information and context they need to stay informed:

  • For searches related to voting, an information panel directs viewers in the EU to Google’s “how to vote” and “how to register to vote” features.
  • When viewers search for 2024 European parliamentary candidates, an information panel will appear above the search results, highlighting candidate information, such as their political party, and link to Google Search. Below the information panel, there may also be a link to the candidate’s official channel.
  • In the final weeks of the campaign, on the YouTube homepage, we’ll show reminders on where and how to vote.
Election results displayed on YouTube

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  • On election day, viewers will see an election results information panel above search results or below videos related to the EU elections. This information panel will link to Google’s election results feature, allowing people to track election results in real time.
  • On the YouTube homepage, we’ll also provide a link to live EU elections results.

This builds upon our current features that prominently surface information from authoritative sources, like news outlets, in search results, on the home page and the "Watch Next" panel.

Dealing with harmful content

In 2023, we removed over 35,000 videos that were uploaded in the European Union for violating our misinformation policies.

Our policies determine what isn’t allowed on YouTube and apply to all content — regardless of language or political viewpoint. We have strict policies against hate speech, harassment, incitement to violence, and certain types of elections misinformation. For example, we remove content that misleads voters on how to vote or encourages interference in the democratic process.

Our global team of reviewers combine with machine learning technology to apply these policies at scale, 24/7. Our Intelligence Desk has also been working for months to get ahead of emerging issues and trends that could affect the EU elections, both on and off YouTube. This helps our enforcement teams to address these potential trends before they become larger issues.

Alongside removing content that violates our policies, we also track the percentage of views of violative content on YouTube before it’s removed. In Q4 2023, violative content made up 0.11%-0.12% of views on our platform, meaning that for every 10,000 views on YouTube, between 11 and 12 were of content that violated our Community Guidelines. We’re continuing to invest in this work, with AI helping to further increase the speed and accuracy of our content moderation systems.

Strengthening transparency around AI-generated content

Video label for Election related content on YouTube

Mock showing label added to the video itself and the description.

We recognize that bad actors may try to exploit Generative AI tools during an election — that’s why we’re ensuring that several layers of transparency and protections are in place, including for the upcoming EU elections:

  • We now require creators to disclose whether the video they’re uploading contains altered or synthetic content and is realistic.
  • We will then add a transparency label to realistic synthetic or altered content to provide this important context to viewers. For elections content, the label will appear on the video itself and in the video description.
  • In certain cases, we may also add a label even when a creator hasn't disclosed it, especially if the use of altered or synthetic content has the potential to confuse or mislead viewers.

This is a critical area we have invested in for some time. All content uploaded to YouTube is subject to our Community Guidelines — regardless of how it’s generated. We also have long-standing policies that prohibit technically manipulated content that misleads viewers and may pose a serious risk of egregious harm. And we require advertisers to disclose when their election ads include digitally altered or generated materials.

Combating disinformation campaigns

Coordinated influence operations are not allowed on YouTube, regardless of the political viewpoints they support. We work closely with Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) to spot these types of campaigns on YouTube and terminate their channels. This can include attempts to interfere with elections. For example, as TAG shared, before the recent Portuguese elections, we terminated 7 YouTube channels linked to individuals in Argentina as part of our ongoing investigations into disinformation campaigns. Through TAG, we also share threat information with law enforcement agencies, such as EUROPOL.

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Promoting media literacy skills

To help viewers assess the content they watch and share, we launched the media literacy campaign HitPause in 2022. The video series, which is live in all official EU languages, provides tips on how to spot potential misinformation—from the use of emotional language to understanding the potential impact of what we each share with others online.

We’ll continue to work together with governments, industry and NGOs across the European Union and beyond in all of these efforts, and not just at election time. As we enter the final month of the 2024 campaign, dedicated teams across YouTube and Google will continue to refine and improve upon these efforts, with our driving goal front of mind: connecting people to high-quality content and protecting our platform.

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