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YouTube lays out disinformation policy ahead of primary vote

Here’s what YouTube is trying to fight ahead of the election

YouTube Studios LA event (STOCK)

As the 2020 election season officially kicks off, and tensions run high, YouTube is laying out its steps to combat disinformation on its platform.

A new blog post issued by Leslie Miller, vice president of government affairs and public policy at YouTube, reiterated some of the company’s key policies. None of the policies are new, but the company is hoping to present the details of its various investments in fighting disinformation related to the election. The blog post essentially acts as an overview of everything YouTube has worked toward over the last couple of years, including its approach to manipulated videos and voter suppression campaigns.

When it comes to manipulated videos, YouTube will remove “content that has been technically manipulated or doctored in a way that misleads users (beyond clips taken out of context) and may pose a serious risk of egregious harm.” The company previously took down a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that was manipulated to make her appear intoxicated.

The Pelosi video violated the company’s policies, although a different video that edited (but did not manipulate) footage of Joe Biden was not in violation. YouTube operates on a video-by-video basis, and uses its moderators to determine whether a video is being used with malicious intent or as parody.

Videos that also tell people incorrect information about voting, including trying to mislead people by using an incorrect voting date, are also not allowed. Neither are videos that advance “false claims related to the technical eligibility requirements for current political candidates and sitting elected government officials to serve in office.” YouTube will further terminate channels that attempt to impersonate another person or channel, or artificially increase the number of views, likes, and comments on a video.

“YouTube remains committed to maintaining the balance of openness and responsibility, before, during and after the 2020 U.S. election,” Miller wrote. “We’ll have even more to share on this work in the coming months.”