As the US presidential election nears, many companies are detailing the measures they’ve taken to prevent their platforms from being used as a tool to manipulate the public and interfere in politics. YouTube is the latest among them, revealing the steps it is taking to address the potential abuse of its streaming platform as a means for election interference. Which videos are facing the banhammer?
YouTube obviously has a large list of community guidelines, which dictates which videos and live streams are allowed on the platform, as well as which content is prohibited. In a post on Thursday, the company said that it will start showing users a new information panel with info about presidential and federal election candidates — but only when the user searches for those kinds of videos, of course.
This new information panel builds upon the expanded fact-checking panels that YouTube rolled out to US users earlier this year. Users can expect to see things like links to the candidate’s official YouTube channel if they have one, including the basic details like which party they’re affiliated with.
The company points out that these politicians also have access to an expanded array of tools that enables them to provide YouTube users with additional information, such as linking to certain crowdfunding websites, posting in the Community, sharing Stories, and, of course, live streaming events and conference so that their wider supporters can participate remotely.
Of note, YouTube is cracking down on videos that have the potential of interfering with the election, including videos that encourage viewers to meddle in these processes by, for example, interrupting voters or otherwise encouraging them to make it harder for others to vote.
As well, YouTube is removing videos that reveal information acquired through hacking, assuming they can cause election interference. An example of that would be sharing a politician’s profile data acquired through a security breach with the intent of harming their campaign.