Google Makes Big Move on Climate Change Denial

Company to restrict ads on Google, YouTube that promote climate change misinformation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 8, 2021 11:15 AM CDT
Google Makes Big Move on Climate Change Denial
In this Sept. 24, 2019, file photo, a woman is seen near a Google sign on the company's campus in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Google is cracking down on digital ads promoting false climate-change claims or being used to make money from such content, hoping to limit revenue for climate change deniers and stop the spread of misinformation on its platforms. The company said Thursday in a blog post that the new policy will also apply to YouTube, which last week announced a sweeping crackdown on vaccine misinformation, per the AP.

"We've heard directly from a growing number of our advertising and publisher partners who have expressed concerns about ads that run alongside or promote inaccurate claims about climate change," Google said. "Advertisers simply don't want their ads to appear next to this content." Publishers and creators on YouTube "don't want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos," according to Google.

The restrictions "will prohibit ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change," the blog post said. Limits will be placed on content calling climate change a hoax or denying that greenhouse gas emissions and human activity have contributed to the Earth's long-term warming. Google said it would use both automated tools and human reviewers to enforce the policy when it takes effect in November for publishers and YouTube creators, and in December for advertisers.

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Advertisements will still be allowed on content that's about other related topics like public debates on climate policy or the varying impacts of climate change. The company is one of the two dominant players in the global digital ad industry, earning $147 billion in ad revenue last year. Facebook, the other big player, prohibits ads used to spread misinformation, though it doesn't list specific topics, including climate change denial.

(More Google stories.)

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