As Google prepares for a wave of misinformation ahead of the midterm elections in the United States, the company is making changes to provide more accurate and trustworthy information in search and through YouTube.
In the coming weeks, the company will launch tools that highlight local and regional journalism about campaigns and races.
Searches for “how to vote,” in English and Spanish, will highlight information sourced from state election officials, including important dates and deadlines based on user location, and instructions on acceptable ways to cast a ballot.
The plan is for YouTube to highlight mainstream news sources and show labels beneath videos in English and Spanish that provide what Google’s tools deem “accurate” election information.
YouTube plans to also use technology to prevent “harmful election misinformation” from being recommended to viewers algorithmically.
“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,” Leslie Miller, vice president of government Affairs and Public Policy at YouTube, wrote in a post.
The same approach will support videos in the “watch next” panels.
The systems are also limiting the spread of harmful election misinformation by identifying borderline content and keeping it from being widely recommended.
For searches or videos related to voting, an information panel will direct viewers to Google’s “how to vote” and “how to register to vote” features. YouTube or the home page, will remind and inform site visitors about voter registration and election resources.
When people search for federal candidates, in the coming weeks they will see a panel highlighting information, such as the candidate’s political party and the position.
On Election Day, people will see 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 have continued support from partnerships to help campaigns learn how to reach voters using YouTube channels and through features like Shorts, live streaming, Community posts and Premieres.
Miller explains in the post that Google and YouTube have already removed videos related to midterm elections for violating it guidelines and Terms of Service. Videos with widespread fraud, errors, and glitches.
If Google could only get the states like California to remove voters from its voting rolls who have moved from the state and are not eligible to vote, they might be able to stop much of the misinformation across the spectrum.