YouTube will add vetted info about mail-in voting to counter election misinformation

YouTube has been relatively quiet about its strategy to battle the flow of misinformation leading into the 2020 U.S. election, but the platform has a few new measures in store.

The video-sharing site will begin attaching a box with vetted facts about mail-in voting on any videos that discuss the topic. The new mail-in voting info boxes will link out to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a bipartisan think tank.

YouTube first rolled these info panels out in 2018, and this year expanded them to address misinformation around COVID-19. The platform’s fact-checking info boxes resemble similarly unobtrusive info labels on Twitter and Facebook. While Twitter in particular has begun taking stronger action on election-related posts that break platform rules, social platforms have opted to broadly serve up contextual facts rather than targeting misinformation with more eye-catching warnings.

Example of YouTube COVID-19 info panel

YouTube is a little late to the party, but it will also add a few features encouraging users to register to vote. Searches about voter registration will soon point users to an info box at the top of the page, leading them to state-specific resources like registration deadlines and how to check voter registration status.

Similarly, queries about “how to vote” will point YouTube users to vetted information from non-partisan third-party partners about state voting rules, requirements and deadlines. These searches will surface voting resources in both English and Spanish. The company will also begin surfacing new information in searches for federal candidates for Congress or the presidency.

Like Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook, YouTube is also launching its own set of original informational election videos that will package facts on voting in the U.S. The YouTube videos take a playful approach, spoofing popular video trends like cooking tutorials. YouTube will also add reminders during “key moments” for the 2020 election, reminding users to register and telling them how and where to vote.