Google and its video streaming platform YouTube are intensifying efforts to boost distribution of credible content and to remove misinformation ahead of the Philippines’ May 2022 elections.
In a press event on March 1, the tech giant announced a series of product features, partnerships, and programs to connect voters to timely information and help protect the integrity of the Philippines elections.
YouTube also revealed that from February 2021 to January 2022, they removed over 400,000 videos uploaded from the Philippines that violated community guidelines.
In particular, YouTube is removing election-related violative content and reducing harmful misinformation. YouTube elections misinformation policies prohibit content that:
- 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
“Political news and events can be subject to misinformation, so the availability of authoritative information sources is crucial. Over the last few years, we’ve made deep investments to make YouTube a more reliable source for news, while also maintaining the openness of the platform,” Emily Moxley, Vice President for Product Management at YouTube said.
Raising authoritative election information
As Election Day approaches, millions of people in the Philippines will be turning to YouTube to get the latest election news, and learn more about candidates and the voting process. To connect people to authoritative election-related information, YouTube provides a variety of Election Information Panels:
- Candidate information panel. When YouTube viewers in the Philippines search for the names of President and Vice President candidates, a relevant candidate information panel will show at the top of their search results. This panel highlights information on the candidates, such as their political party and what office they’re running for. Information about candidates and parties is sourced from vetted, non-partisan, third-party sources.
- How to vote information panel. To help people learn more about the voting process, an information panel surfaces on YouTube for all searches pertaining to “how to vote.” These panels will link to the Commissions on Elections’ (COMELEC) website featuring relevant materials, requirements, and the step-by-step of the voting process.
YouTube’s other features that aim to boost credible information include:
- Top News and Breaking News shelf for fast-moving, breaking news events
- Information panels indicating funding sources (if publisher is funded by the government or publicly funded)
- Information panels that give topical context that links to third party sources for videos on topics that are prone to misinformation such as Martial Law in the Philippines
Supporting fact checking initiatives
Meanwhile, Google News Initiative (GNI) is also supporting Meedan’s #FactsFirstPH, a coalition of more than 100 groups, including news organizations such as Rappler, civil society organizations, business groups, faith-based communities, research groups, and legal organizations to fight misinformation ahead of the Philippine elections.
Investing in media literacy programs
Google has been investing in and supporting local media literacy programs to teach people how to identify trusted information. These include the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication’s “a day in the life” video series and training for news literacy, and CANVAS’ #YOUTHink magazine.
Google.org also made a grant of $1.5 million to help the ASEAN Foundation expand media literacy education in ASEAN member communities including the Philippines. The ASEAN Foundation has also developed a digital literacy comic book available in Filipino.
“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.”