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YouTube is still battling 2020 election misinformation as it prepares for the midterms

Future Publishing via Getty Images

YouTube and Google are the latest platforms to share more about how they are preparing for the upcoming midterm elections, and the flood of misinformation that will come with it.

For YouTube, much of that strategy hinges on continuing to counter misinformation about the 2020 presidential election. The company’s election misinformation policies already prohibit videos that allege “widespread fraud, errors, or glitches” occurred in any previous presidential election. In a new blog post about its preparations for the midterms, the company says it's already removed “a number of videos related to the midterms” for breaking these rules, and that other channels have been temporarily suspended for videos related to the upcoming midterms.

The update comes as YouTube continues to face scrutiny for its handling of the 2020 election, and whether its recommendations pushed some people toward election fraud videos. (Of note, the Journal of Online Trust and Safety published a study on the topic today.)

In addition to taking down videos, YouTube also says it will launch “an educational media literacy campaign” aimed at educating viewers about “manipulation tactics used to spread misinformation.” The campaign will launch in the United States first, and will cover topics like “using emotional language” and “cherry picking information,” according to the company.

Google will highlight local news sources in search results related to the midterms.
Google will highlight local news sources in search results related to the midterms.

And Both Google and YouTube will promote authoritative election information in their services, including in search results. Before the midterms, YouTube will link to information about how to vote, and on Election day, videos related to the midterms will link to “timely context around election results.” Similarly, Google will surface election results directly in search, which it has done in previous elections as well.

The company is also trying to make it easier to find details about local and regional races. Beginning in “the coming weeks,” Google will highlight local news sources from different states in election-related searches.