With Halalan 2022 nearing, Google and YouTube are intensifying their efforts against misinformation and fake news on the internet. In fact, from February 2021 to January 2022, YouTube successfully removed over 400,000 videos uploaded from the Philippines for violating Community Guidelines. In their quest to support credible content online, especially during the Philippine elections, YouTube and Google shared a number of new features, partnerships, and programs.
Candidate information panel
One of YouTube’s top features on debunking misinformation are information panels that link back to credible sources. “Political news and events can be subject to misinformation, so the availability of authoritative information sources is crucial,” said Emily Moxley, Vice President for Product Management at YouTube. Moxley shared that although her team has done so much to stop the spread of fake news for the past few years, their work is still ongoing. “We are committed to making YouTube a vibrant and safe community for a healthy political discourse as well as help protect the integrity of elections.”
First on the list of information panels is the candidate information panel. Whenever YouTube viewers search for a specific Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate, the panel will appear on top of the search results. This gives viewers immediate relevant information such as the candidate’s political party and what office they’re running for.
How to vote information panel
If a viewer searches “how to vote” on YouTube, an information panel sits on top of the search results for them to learn more about the voting process. The panel links to the Commissions on Elections’ (COMELEC) website which features relevant materials, requirements, and a step-by-step of the voting process.
Top news and breaking news
Another feature YouTube rolled out in the Philippines includes Top News and Breaking News shelves for fast-moving, breaking news events. Whenever there’s a significant news event, an information panel will appear in the search results or on the YouTube homepage. This will then directly link to credible news sources that follow Google News content policies.
Information panels indicating funding sources
For transparency, YouTube and Google will put information panels that indicate whether a channel is owned by a news publisher and its funding sources. Viewers can find these information panels on the video channel’s watch page or directly under the video next to the information icon. There will also be a link to the publisher’s Wikipedia page. This information panel will help give viewers additional information to better understand the sources of what they watch on the platform.
Information panels on topical context
There are a lot of topics online that are prone to misinformation (for example, Martial Law in the Philippines). This is why YouTube and Google have provided information panels giving topical context that links back to reliable third-party sources for better context. These panels could appear on top of the search results or under a video about that topic regardless of the video’s opinion or perspective.
What do YouTube Community Guidelines prohibit?
YouTube is doubling down on its efforts to reduce fake news online. The result? They already took down 400,000 videos spreading misinformation and are still taking down more as you’re reading this article. If you’re a content creator and you want to make sure your video is safe or you’re a viewer who has doubts about a particular video, here’s a quick look at YouTube’s elections misinformation policies:
- Misleads voters about the time, place, means, or eligibility requirements for voting, or false claims that could materially discourage voting
- Advances false claims related to the technical eligibility requirements for current political candidates and sitting elected government officials to serve in office
- Encourages others to interfere with democratic processes
- Contains hacked information, the disclosure of which may interfere with democratic processes
Supporting fact-checking initiatives
Tech giant Google also has employed local initiatives to help make sure Filipinos only consume credible content. Google News Initiative has invested in #FactsFirstPH, a coalition of more than 100 groups with the singular aim to debunk lies and fight misinformation. This includes different organizations such as civil society organizations, business groups, faith-based communities, research groups, and legal organizations.
Investing in media literacy programs
In addition to their efforts, Google has also been investing in supporting local media literacy programs to teach people how to identify trusted information.
This March 4 to 5, 2022, Google has a partnership with the University of the Philippines for an election workshop series. It aims to help newsroom editors and journalists with effective election coverage.
“Fighting misinformation is important to Google and it takes the whole of society working together to address it,” said Irene Jay Liu, Google APAC News Lab Lead. “We will continue to forge meaningful partnerships with the media and community groups to help people access the right information so they can make an informed vote in the upcoming elections.”