2020 Election

YouTube pats itself on the back for policies that 'support elections'

Including rules on misinformation and fraudulent accounts.

SDI Productions/E+/Getty Images

As the election cycle truly ramps up with the Iowa caucus today, YouTube is highlighting policies that it says will help support elections, mostly pointing to existing guidelines and how it plans to apply them to political content. Based on the examples given, it seems YouTube has its eyes on only the most extreme cases.

That's not all that surprising, considering how much criticism the company has faced for allowing misinformation to thrive on its platform.

What's no good? — Banned content includes doctored or manipulated footage that may mislead users and put someone at risk. Misleading information about voting or the census, e.g. giving the wrong date for voting, is also banned, as well as any content that makes false claims about a candidate's eligibility. That should mean, if it happened today, that Donald Trump's birther videos about Barack Obama would be removed.

YouTube also says it'll terminate channels that impersonate another person or channel, or that conceals their true country of origin. Artificially spiking metrics can also lead to an account's termination.

Boosting reliable content — YouTube has highlighted authoritative voices for years via its Top News and Breaking News shelves, as well as in "watch next" and search results. Because of this, YouTube says consumption of content from authoritative searches has risen 60 percent.

All together, the announcement is... fine. Nothing new, nothing hawkish, nothing really deserving of praise.