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YouTube/Google’s approach to protect integrity of PH elections

Emily Moxley, Vice President for Product Management at YouTube and Irene Jay Liu, APAC News Lab Lead at Google shared to the Philippine media more about YouTube’s approach to elections and an overview of Google’s work with the news and fact-checking ecosystem.

As part of an ongoing commitment to connect voters to timely information and help protect the integrity of the Philippines elections, Google and YouTube announced a series of product features, partnerships, and programs.

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.

This is part of the existing portfolio of features that YouTube has rolled out in the country, aimed at raising authoritative information. These include Top News and Breaking News shelves for fast-moving, breaking news events; information panels that indicate funding sources from publishers that receive public or government funding; and information panels giving topical context that links to third party sources such as Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica, for videos on a number of well-established topics that can be prone to misinformation including the Holocaust, the Apollo moon landing, and Martial Law in the Philippines.

Speaking about the election information panels in the country, Emily Moxley, Vice President for Product Management at YouTube said“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. Our work is ongoing and we are committed to making YouTube a vibrant and safe community for a healthy political discourse as well as help protect the integrity of elections.”

Removing election-related violative content & reducing harmful misinformation

YouTube’s Community Guidelines apply equally to everyone. From February 2021 to January 2022, the platform removed over 400,000 videos uploaded from the Philippines for Community Guidelines. 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

In addition, YouTube’s systems are designed to limit the spread of borderline content and harmful misinformation. Today, consumption of borderline content that comes from its recommendations is significantly below 1% globally.

Supporting fact checking initiatives

The Google News Initiative (GNI) supports 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. The GNI has also partnered with the University of the Philippines (UP) to launch a journalist training series and provided support to tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project led by UP.

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. 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,” said Irene Jay Liu, Google APAC News Lab Lead.

“Part of COMELEC’s mission is to empower voters with accurate, relevant and timely information. We laud Google for taking the important steps in helping Filipinos access authoritative information that is essential for an informed electorate,” said James Jimenez, Commissions on Elections Director for Education and Information.

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BlogWatch receives the “Best Story” Award for the First Data Journalism PH 2015 from the Open Knowledge Foundation and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism  for their story on “Aid Monitoring: Citizens’ Initial Efforts in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda” . Forbes Philippines also received the same award.

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