Google and YouTube Join hands to Protect People’s Privacy during the 2020 census

Google and YouTube have declared their plan to jointly support in completing the 2020 U.S. census online. 

April 1, 2020, census will be the first time option for the people to complete it online. Google and YouTube are striving hard to fight deceptive practices and the widespread misinformation about the census through new efforts and policies announced on Wednesday. 

All about 2020 Census


The census takes place every 10 years and helps ascertain how many seats Congress gets. And also how much funding schools, hospitals, and roads should receive based on the census data. 

This census has been done every decade since 1790, the US will carry out its constitutional duty to count the population of the United States. In 2020, for the first time, the census will offer people the option of taking up the census online, in addition to completing it by mail or phone. Today about 70 percent of US people are using the internet at home, and 80 percent using smartphones, hence this new approach of conducting census will allow more people to participate in this census.  

The US Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and 41 of their Senate colleagues introduced a bipartisan resolution to make sure the census count is fair and correct and to urge participation by everyone, and Google is a strong supporter of the resolution.

Here’s an insight into the efforts made on this front:

1. Expanded YouTube’s Deceptive Practice Polices


Such efforts include expanding YouTube’s deceptive practice policies to support the census process. Those videos or comments on the platform that misinform viewers about any aspect of the census are not accepted. The U.S. Census Bureau is now a part of the YouTube Trusted Flagger program encouraging people to report any content that violates the new policy. 

2. Stricter Ad Policies by Google


Google implements stricter ad policies for advertising that contains information about how to participate in the census. It’ll also work to ensure that only legitimate emails from the Census Bureau are shot through Gmail. Ultimately, it will also engage with partner bodies and provide people with better transparency in terms of census-related apps.

To support this new online option, Google is working to connect people with useful and high-quality information about the census. It is also building ongoing work to protect the integrity of information and civic processes. Last March it established the 2020 US Census Taskforce, a team to support the operations and security of the 2020 Census across Google and YouTube.

The only goal of this team is to stop bad actors from abusing Google services to spread misinformation or to conduct fraudulent activity around the census such as phishing or other fake information or scams. Google will offer regular updates on the efforts to the Census Bureau and other relevant bodies.

3. Security protections for Gmail and Chrome

Security protections for Gmail and Chrome

Each day, Gmail blocks almost 100 million phishing emails and Google Safe Browsing helps protect nearly 4 billion devices against dangerous sites. Our team is working to ensure that legitimate emails from the Census Bureau are delivered, and to block phishing attempts. Security systems like Safe Browsing in Chrome are automatically turned on and can alert people of compromised sites about the census.

4. Association with Partner Organizations

Association with Partner Organizations

Google shares actionable information with other companies, law enforcement, and the U.S. Census Bureau to allow identify, investigate, and resolve relevant issues. The US Census Bureau is joining the YouTube Trusted Flagger system to enhance the efforts by quickly notifying YouTube of census-related content that violates the policies. 

5. Access to authoritative data on Search

Access to authoritative data on Search

Search is programmed to surface related results from the most authoritative sources. Google manages the disinformation and stays ahead of the malicious people that propagate it. It has also improved the system and elevates authoritative information, particularly for important areas like news and civics.

6. Transparency for government information on Play

Transparency for government information on Play

To increase transparency about the sources of government data communicated through apps on the Google Play Store, a policy update now requires apps that can communicate government information but are not associated with a government body to provide users the source(s) of this information. Census partners will offer the sources of any census related data they provide in their app and make clear the nature of their relationship with the census.


Now many other countries are also switching to an online census, the joint efforts by Google, YouTube, and the US Census Bureau will be a cornerstone for these efforts.

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