Google supports upcoming Feb 8 polls in Pakistan

Google supports upcoming Feb 8 polls in Pakistan


The Google homepage will include links directing voters to information on ‘how to vote

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ISLAMABAD (APP) - As Pakistanis prepare to vote in the election to elect representatives for the National Assembly and provincial assemblies on Feb 8, Google has committed to collaborating with the government, industry, and civil society to provide voters with helpful and authoritative information while keeping its platforms safe from abuse.

In a press release issued on Thursday, Google said, “We know that in the run-up to elections, people need useful and relevant information to help them navigate the electoral process. We make reliable information easily available with helpful product features, showing data from trusted, nonpartisan organizations on how and where to vote across our products.”

Google’s ranking systems are designed to elevate authoritative information and provide context to users on various election-related information. Additionally, the Google homepage will include links directing voters to authoritative information on ‘how to vote’ and ‘how to register to vote.’ 

For news and information related to the election, YouTube’s recommendation system will prominently surface content and relevant context from authoritative sources, including local and national news sources on the homepage, in search results, and the “Up Next” panel, to connect people to high-quality election news and information.

To assist the media and the public in exploring what voters care about in this election, Google has launched a Google Trends page, a tool that helps surface the top queries, topics, and interests in parties running in the elections.

The page also includes data on the top election-related topics searched in each part of the country, providing unique insights into what people are searching for. Google will run a series of workshops to equip journalists with the right resources to inform their news coverage during elections, including teaching them about tools for news verification, digital security, and using Google Trends.

Farhan Qureshi, Google’s Country Director for Pakistan, stated, “In the lead-up to the election, we have focused our efforts on supporting Pakistanis who are expected to cast their vote by helping them connect to useful and relevant election-related information online.

We have also invested in the news ecosystem and trained journalists and newsrooms on reporting authoritative and credible news ahead of the election cycle. Recently, we launched a Google Trends Pakistan General Election page to make it easier for the media to find this data for their stories.”

Google and YouTube have longstanding policies to keep their platforms safe, including during elections. YouTube’s Community Guidelines include policies against hate speech, harassment, incitement to violence, technically manipulated content, and certain types of election misinformation.

The platforms rely on a combination of machine learning and human reviewers to identify and remove content that violates their policies. Qureshi added, “Election integrity is a top priority for YouTube, and we’ve been working to ensure the right policies and systems are in place to support the country’s elections.

On top of connecting people to authoritative and quality information, we remove violative content in a timely manner with the help of machine learning and trained reviewers. Our goal is to maintain the right balance between protecting our community from harm and enabling a diversity of viewpoints to thrive on YouTube.”

Google’s mission is to make the world’s information accessible and useful, and the company is committed to surfacing and connecting voters to authoritative and helpful information online.