cover image: “Votes will not be counted” - Indian election disinformation ads and YouTube


“Votes will not be counted” - Indian election disinformation ads and YouTube

2 Apr 2024

Even before the last general election in 2019, misinformation related to political or social issues circulated widely.4 Ahead of the 2024 election, the Election Commission of India has identified a “probable list of fake narratives” to prepare for, including misinformation of the type we tested.5 YouTube states it uses a mixture of automated and human means to moderate prohibited content, yet in t. [...] But in tests of election disinformation in English and Spanish ahead of the US midterm elections in 2022, YouTube rejected 100% of the ads and banned our channel. [...] The election season is underway in the largest democratic exercise on earth – and yet the video sharing and social media platform YouTube is failing to detect and restrict content designed to disenfranchise some voters and incite others to block particular groups from voting. [...] Conduct a thorough evaluation of the advertising approval process and the election/political advertisements policy, including consultations with multiple stakeholders, to urgently identify the Access Now and Global Witness April 2024 “Votes will not be counted” 6 gaps in the process, and publish. [...] Conduct an investigation into the discrepancy in treatment of election misinformation content in countries such as India and Brazil compared to the US, identify what went wrong, and show what steps are being taken to address and prevent this in the future.
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