How YouTube supported the 2022 U.S. midterm elections
Viewers across the United States came to YouTube this past midterms to learn and engage in a variety of ways. They heard directly from candidates, dug into campaign issues, and stayed informed on the latest news and election results. At YouTube, our overriding goal was critical: to connect people to high-quality news and information. Now that the Georgia runoff has wrapped up, we’re giving insight into how we delivered on this critical, foundational goal.
In November our Breaking News and Top News shelves surfaced more than 65 million times on the YouTube homepage
Helping voters access authoritative news and information
During major news moments, YouTube shows content from trusted sources for viewers in prominent news shelves, and the midterms were no exception. In the month of November alone, our Breaking News and Top News shelves surfaced more than 65 million times on the YouTube homepage and at the top of search results in multiple languages, including English and Spanish. And that’s just one touchpoint. The recommendations we serve to viewers offer up another potent opportunity to raise up quality content.
When people searched for news and information about the midterms, on average, more than 85% of the videos in search results came from quality news sources
Leading up to and following election day, our recommendation system prominently recommended content from trusted national and local news sources across multiple languages, including English and Spanish. Over 85% of recommendations on midterms-related topics came from authoritative news sources, such as Univision and NBC News. And we found that when people searched for news and information about the midterms, on average, more than 85% of the videos in search results came from quality news sources, such as CNN en Español and The Wall Street Journal. The remaining content covered topics like entertainment and finance.
We also displayed key information panels from trusted sources underneath videos and in search results about the midterms. Available in both English and Spanish, viewers were shown additional context relevant to elections content — from more on how to vote ahead of the election to an election results panel that began surfacing on election day. In total, our election-related information panels and reminders have been shown over 2 billion times, over 100 million of which were in Spanish.
Removing violative content before it’s widely viewed
Over the years, our Trust and Safety teams have worked across policies and technology to create systems that uphold election integrity. On top of raising up quality information, that means removing election content that violates our Community Guidelines. This includes videos misleading voters on how to vote, encouraging interference in the democratic process, inciting violence (including against election workers), or advancing certain types of elections misinformation — like claiming that the 2020 U.S. presidential election was stolen or rigged.
We’ve removed over 10,000 videos related to the midterms for violating our Community Guidelines, including those that violated our election integrity policy. 75% of those removed videos were taken down before they had 100 views. And we enforced our policies regardless of a speaker’s public figure status or their political viewpoint, and regardless of the language the content was in.
At YouTube, we’re constantly working to make sure we can be a reliable source for timely news and information. We’ll apply learnings from these U.S. midterms to our ongoing work supporting the integrity of elections around the world.