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The 2022 U.S. midterm elections on YouTube

  • By Leslie Miller
  • VP of Government Affairs & Public Policy, YouTube
  • Sep.01.2022
How YouTube is connecting people to authoritative information and limiting the spread of harmful misinformation related to the 2022 U.S. midterm elections.

At YouTube, we’re constantly working to make sure we can be a reliable source for timely news and information. That’s why over the years we’ve built policies, systems and teams that raise authoritative content and limit the spread of harmful misinformation. This work is especially critical when it comes to supporting elections around the world. Here in the U.S., our dedicated team of elections experts has been focused on preparing for the 2022 U.S. midterm elections. Whether it’s learning about when and where to vote, or finding information about political candidates, we take seriously our commitment to connecting viewers with trusted resources. With most state primaries complete and Election Day only two months away, here’s a look at our ongoing efforts to support the integrity of this year’s midterms.

When you search for midterms content on YouTube, our systems are prominently recommending content coming from authoritative national and local news sources.

Making authoritative information front and center

Our driving goal is for viewers to have access to high-quality election news and information. When you search for midterms content on YouTube, our systems are prominently recommending content coming from authoritative national and local news sources like PBS NewsHour, The Wall Street Journal, Univision and local ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. This same approach goes for videos in your “watch next” panels. Working in tandem, our systems are also limiting the spread of harmful election misinformation by identifying borderline content and keeping it from being widely recommended.

Voting info panel

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

To give people even more relevant context around elections content, we’ll be showing a variety of information panels in English and Spanish from authoritative sources underneath videos and in search results about the midterms.

For searches or videos related to voting, an information panel directs viewers to Google’s “how to vote” and “how to register to vote” features. And on the YouTube homepage, we’re showing reminders on voter registration and election resources.

candidate info panel

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

In the coming weeks, when people search for federal candidates, they’ll see a panel highlighting key information, including their political party and the office they’re running for.

election results info panel

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

Starting on Election Day, people will see timely context around election results underneath videos and at the top of search results related to the midterms. This information panel will also link to Google’s election results feature, allowing people to track election results in real time. On the YouTube homepage, we’ll highlight live coverage of election night from authoritative news sources and provide a link to midterms results.

News publishers, political creators, and campaigns across the political spectrum also have ongoing support from our partnerships team this election season. This team helps campaigns learn how to reach voters using their YouTube channels and through features like Shorts, live streaming, Community posts and Premieres.

Keeping violative content off YouTube

As our systems connect viewers to authoritative content and limit the spread of harmful misinformation, we’re also removing election content that violates our policies.

As our systems connect viewers to authoritative content and limit the spread of harmful misinformation, we’re also removing election content that violates our policies. This includes misleading voters on how to vote, encouraging interference in the democratic process, inciting violence, or advancing certain types of elections misinformation. We enforce our policies consistently for everyone, regardless of the speaker’s public figure status or their political viewpoint.

We’ve already removed a number of videos related to the midterms for violating our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. This includes videos that violated our election integrity policy by claiming widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, or alleging the election was stolen or rigged. We’ve also issued strikes to channels that uploaded violative content related to the midterms, resulting in a temporary suspension from uploading new content.

Our teams continue to monitor the midterms closely, working to quickly remove content that violates our policies. We’ll stay vigilant ahead of, during, and after Election Day.

Promoting media literacy skills

We’ve also been exploring ways to help people assess the content they watch and share. In the coming weeks, we’ll launch an educational media literacy campaign across YouTube providing tips on identifying different manipulation tactics used to spread misinformation – from using emotional language to cherry picking information. This campaign will first launch in the U.S., and we’ll expand to other countries over time.

As Election Day approaches, teams across YouTube and Google will continue to fine tune and improve upon all these efforts. We’re proud of the investments we’ve made to support elections, but know we need to stay vigilant and nimble in our approach. We’ll continue to closely monitor new developments and make needed adjustments along the way. Elections are one of the cornerstones of our society, and we’re committed to keeping viewers informed and protected this November, and for elections to come.