Tech

YouTube will add Election Day warning label: 'Results may not be final'

Key Points
  • YouTube announced Tuesday it will add a label to relevant search queries and videos on Election Day. The label will link to a separate page with Google-promoted results from The Associated Press.
  • The company's plan to address early victory claims is less detailed than other social networks.
  • The announcement comes one week ahead of the U.S. elections and as social media companies scramble to tweak policies to contain misinformation ahead of an expected contentious election.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018.
Stephen Lam | Reuters

Google-owned YouTube will add an elections results label to search queries and videos on Election Day as a means of addressing potential misinformation surrounding the elections.

In a blog post, YouTube said it will place a label — or "information panel," as Google calls it — at the top of search results for election-related queries, and below relevant videos, with the message: "Results may not be final. See the latest on Google."

If users click on the tag's link, it will take them to a separate Google page with real-time national and statewide election results from data by The Associated Press.

In a separate blog post, the company said it will also continue to promote what it considers "authoritative" news sources, like CNN and Fox News, for news and search results, including in the "watch next" panels.

The latest announcement comes as social media companies, including YouTube, scramble to update policies to curb misinformation that has plagued sites — particularly surrounding politics — in the last year. Last month, following a Facebook decision to ban political ads after the election, Google said it would temporarily pause ads referencing the 2020 election or its outcome starting on next Tuesday's Election Day. Last month, YouTube announced a policy to ban conspiracy theories that could result in real-world violence, including those by far-right group QAnon, but stopped short of an all-out ban.

The YouTube announcement comes later and with less detail than other social networks. Twitter, Facebook and TikTok have explicitly stated measures if a candidate or party prematurely claims victory.

When asked about a specific plan surrounding early victory claims, YouTube said it will continue adhering to its existing policy that states it "prohibits misleading claims about voting or content that encourages interference in the democratic process."

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