Google and YouTube will prohibit the monetization of climate denial content through ads

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Google and YouTube announced Thursday a new policy prohibiting climate deniers from monetizing their content via ads or creator payment.

Why it is important: This is one of the most aggressive actions any major tech platform has taken in combating misinformation about climate change.

Details: Google publishers and advertisers, as well YouTube creators, won’t be able to make ad revenue from content that is contrary to “well-established scientific consensus about the existence and causes climate change,” according the company’s advertising team.

  • “This includes any content that refers to climate change as a hoax, a scam, or claims that long-term trends don’t show that the global climate is warming. It also includes claims that either human activity or greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to climate change.
  • Advertisements and monetization are still allowed alongside other climate-related topics like public debates about climate policy, the impacts of climate change and new research on the topic.

Google stated that it is making these changes to address frustration from content creators and advertisers about messages appearing alongside climate denial.

  • Advertisers don’t want ads next to the content. Publishers and creators don’t want these ads to appear on their pages, or videos,” the company stated.

Yes but: Google frequently makes changes in its ads policies to decrease misinformation. However, this update is noteworthy, considering how difficult it can be to classify certain comments about climate change as denial or misinformation.

  • According to the tech giant, when reviewing content in accordance with the new policy, “we will carefully examine the context in which claims were made. This will allow us to distinguish between content that makes a false claim as fact and content that discusses or reports on that claim.”
  • According to the company, it has worked with experts such as representatives from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports in order to develop the policy. The report concluded there is “unambiguous” evidence that human greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to global warming.
  • Google claims it will enforce the new policy using a combination automated tools and human review.

The big picture Climate activists have increased pressure on Internet companies to do more to address climate denial.

  • Google has unveiled a new suite of tools to help consumers cut their greenhouse gas emissions on Wednesday
  • Facebook launched in February. This portal was created to combat misinformation regarding climate change.

Why it is important: Social media platforms are vastly popular and have come under fire from activists as well as lawmakers around the world for not doing enough to stop inaccurate content being spread.

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