As a certain China-affiliated platform finds itself under political fire, its rival is showing lawmakers its commitment to the protection of the American political system. YouTube authored a blog post in which it outlined the efforts it made to curb misinformation during the recently-concluded midterm election season.
YouTube is one of the primary news sources utilized by Americans as they search for information about the politicians on their ballots. The platform noted that its Breaking News and Top News shelves, which contain videos from major broadcasters, appeared more than 65 million times in November. That wasn’t the only tactic YouTube employed as it looked to put credible sources in front of its viewers. 85% of recommendations on midterm-related topics came from authoritative providers like NBC News and Univision.
“Viewers across the United States came to YouTube this past midterms to learn and engage in a variety of ways,” reads YouTube’s post. “They heard directly from candidates, dug into campaign issues, and stayed informed on the latest news and election results. At YouTube, our overriding goal was critical: to connect people to high-quality news and information.”
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Of course, not all uploaders play by the rules, and during major news moments, conspiracy theorists attempt to game YouTube’s algorithm in order to spread inaccurate info. To counter those bad actors, YouTube removed over 10,000 videos related to the midterms. Those uploads, which violated the site’s Community Guidelines, were rarely able to connect with many viewers. 75% of the nixed clips were taken down before they reached 100 views.
Many of the removed videos concerned “the big lie.” Two years after taking heat for its inability to quash political conspiracies, YouTube is coming down hard on individuals who claim that the 2020 election was rigged. That course of action is consistent with the policy YouTube established in the wake of the January 6 uprising.
YouTube still has work to do if it wants to uphold its Community Guidelines. Democratic politicians have described the platform as a gateway to the “incelosphere,” but even if YouTube is still battling individual ideologies, it has established moderation practices that are a gold standard for the social web. YouTube has become so good at eradicating electoral misinformation that its actions even affect platforms like Twitter and Facebook. If the Google-owned entity can keep up its good work, it might be able to avoid future interrogations on Capitol Hill.