Google, YouTube Provide Updates on Their Efforts to Protect the US Elections

Searching for ‘how to register to vote,’ ‘how to vote’ brings up state-specific information for users

When YouTube users search for information about presidential or federal candidates, they will see an information panel YouTube

Google and its YouTube video site outlined steps they are taking to protect the upcoming presidential election in the U.S.

Two features were added to Google Search.

Searching for how to register to vote will bring up information about voter registration in the user’s state, including deadlines, options and a way to check their status.

And searching for how to vote will bring up details about how to vote in the user’s state, including identification requirements, registration and voting deadlines and guidance on options such as mail-in voting..

Google said it works with nonpartisan third-party partners such as Democracy Works, which aggregates official data directly from state and county election administrators, and it links to the official websites of state governments.

People directly involved in campaigns can nominate themselves to receive additional security checks for active threats and suspicious activity, such as hacking and phishing, complementing Google’s Advanced Protection Program, which provides additional safeguards to G Suite and Gmail users during the election season.

Finally, recent policy updates included prohibiting ads that disseminate illegally obtained materials and the addition of more information about election ads that run on Google’s platform to its Political Ads Transparency Report.

Director of trust and safety Amanda Storey wrote in a blog post, “As we approach November’s election, we will continue to ensure that all of our products are built—and our policies are enforced—in a fair, objective and nonpartisan way, without regard to political ideology. Our platforms have empowered people and organizations from across the political spectrum, giving them a voice and new ways to reach their audiences. We’ll continue to keep you updated on all of our work to support the 2020 U.S. election and other elections around the world.”

Meanwhile, YouTube continues to remove content that violates its policies on hate speech and deceptive practices, including content that contains hacked information that may interfere with the democratic process, such as information about a political candidate.

Content aimed at obstructing or interrupting voting procedures is also covered, such as videos telling viewers to create long voting lines to make it more difficult for others to vote.
In the coming weeks, when YouTube users search for information about presidential or federal candidates, they will see an information panel with facts including their party affiliation, office and official YouTube channel.

YouTube said candidates have taken advantage of features such as cards and end screens that drive viewers to approved crowdfunding sites, livestreaming, YouTube Stories and community posts to interact with voters, and the video site’s partnerships team will continue to provide support to candidates and campaigns to help them effectively use those features.

YouTube vice president of government affairs and public policy Leslie Miller wrote in a blog post, “At YouTube, we strive to be a place where a broad range of voices can be heard. This is particularly important when we come together in the democratic process, which is why our teams at Google and YouTube are working around the clock to ensure that we maintain the important balance of openness and responsibility … Our work allows us to provide access to helpful, authoritative information, prevent abuse of our systems and enable connections with creators from a myriad of viewpoints and will continue well beyond the next Election Day.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.