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YouTube adds links to fight mail-in voting misinformation ahead of Election Day

YouTube adds links to fight mail-in voting misinformation ahead of Election Day


Official candidate info will also appear in searches

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The YouTube logo against a black background with red X marks.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube is stepping up its measures against misinformation around the upcoming US election. In a blog post today, the platform announced an array of new changes, including changes to the search results for presidential and congressional candidates, which will now have authoritative information panels about a candidate ahead of video search results.

“As we approach November 3, we’re working hard to make YouTube a more reliable source for news and information, as well as an open platform for healthy political discourse,” said Leslie Miller, YouTube’s VP of government affairs and public policy, in a post announcing the changes.

The boldest effort is a new measure specifically targeted at misinformation around mail-in voting. Starting today, videos dealing with voting by mail will include an info panel under the video directing viewers to a think tank report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, titled “Voting by Mail Counts.” The link is meant to dispel misinformation about mail-in voting leading to fraud, similar to previous YouTube information panels on the Moon landing, vaccinations, or other common conspiracy theory topics.

Mail-in voting conspiracies are politically sensitive because they’ve been so consistently promoted by President Trump, who has repeatedly and groundlessly claimed that mail voting will result in fraud. Twitter has labeled the claims as misleading on several occasions but kept them visible on the grounds that they are newsworthy.

YouTube will also roll out new information panels for queries on voter registration, directing to Google’s preexisting “how to register to vote” and “how to vote” pages, both populated by nonpartisan partners like Democracy Works.