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Our approach to Election Day on YouTube

Over the last few years, we’ve significantly increased our investments in the systems and processes that enable us to effectively remove violative videos, raise up authoritative content and reduce the spread of borderline content.

We are one week away from Election Day in the United States. This election season, you’ve come to YouTube for timely news and information, whether it’s to hear directly from the candidates running for office who use YouTube or to watch live coverage of key election moments from major news providers.

Over the last few years, we’ve significantly increased our investments in the systems and processes that enable us to effectively remove violative videos, raise up authoritative content and reduce the spread of borderline content. Throughout this year, we’ve shared updates on how these efforts allow us to make YouTube a more reliable source for election-related news and information—for example, our information panels for federal and presidential candidates or voting by mail—as well as offering an open platform for healthy political discourse. Here is a look at how we’re applying this framework to Election Day.

Our Community Guidelines do not allow misleading claims about voting or content that encourages interference in the democratic process. In addition, we have established policies prohibiting hate speech, harassment, deceptive practices and incitement to violence. For example: under our violent or graphic content policy, we remove content inciting others to commit violent acts against individuals or a group of people at polling places; and under our voter suppression policy, we remove content falsely claiming that mail-in ballots have been manipulated to change the results of an election. We consistently enforce our policies regardless of political viewpoints or who expresses those viewpoints. Content providing sufficient educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic context is allowed on YouTube.

The removal of violative content is just one of the ways we protect the YouTube community. Fast-moving events, like elections, may produce unverified claims, which can then lead to uncertainty. Providing viewers with accurate information is critical in moments like this, which is why we work to raise up authoritative election-related information and reduce the spread of harmful election-related misinformation in the following ways: 

YouTube promotes responsible reporting ahead of US elections

Our suite of information panels provide additional context directly under videos and in search results, so you can make your own informed decisions. For example, earlier this year, we expanded our fact check information panels to the U.S. Beginning on Election Day, we’ll prominently surface a new election results information panel at the top of search results for a broad range of queries related to the election and under videos that discuss the election. This information panel will note that election results may not be final and link to Google’s election results feature, which will enable you to track election results in real time. As in previous years and for this year’s primaries, Google will be working with The Associated Press to provide authoritative election results.

To help you learn more about participating in the democratic process, we’ll continue to promote links to timely, relevant information towards the top of your YouTube homepage. Leading up to Election Day, you’ll be able to find a link to Google’s how to vote feature and on Election Day itself, a link to Google’s where to vote feature. Then, as polls close, you’ll see a shelf of live streams of election night coverage from authoritative news partners so that, like in previous elections, you can come to YouTube throughout the evening to watch election night unfold.

Finally, we’ll continue to elevate authoritative sources, including news publishers like CNN and Fox News, for election-related news and information queries in search results and “watch next” panels. And our recommendations systems will also keep limiting the spread of harmful election-related misinformation and borderline content.

Our teams have been working around the clock to make sure we have the systems and policies in place to prevent the abuse of our systems and provide access to authoritative information this election season. We remain vigilant, and are committed to maintaining the important balance of openness and responsibility, on Election Day and beyond.