Google is to ban ads and YouTube videos that deny climate change is real.
The search engine and social media powerhouse has said it will no longer allow ads that contradict the “well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change”. Furthermore, the new demonetisation policies – which come into force next month – will also prevent YouTube videos from earning if they spread fiction as fact. This includes referring “to climate change as a hoax or a scam”, and denying that the global climate is warming. Plus, if they dispute that “greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change”.
The move comes after Google amended its ads and monetisation policies during the COVID 19 pandemic. This was a result of a surge of content promoting fake medical cures and anti-vaccination advocacy. The company does already monitor ads that feature next to sensitive material, such as firearms and tragic events. However, this is the first time that climate change denial has been added to the watch list.
Whilst the company is keen to stop the dissemination of false claims as fact, it will still be a platform for discussion. “We will also continue to allow ads and monetisation on other climate-related topics, including public debates on climate policy, the varying impacts of climate change, new research and more,” the company stated.
Google admitted the change has come after “a growing number of our advertising and publishing partners” complained about ads promoting inaccurate claims about climate change. The announcement follows a post last week on Google’s blogs from CEO Sundar Pichai. This stated that the company will be taking more sustainable steps to tackle climate change on its platform. These included running its data centres and campuses on carbon-free energy by 2030. New features on its products such as helping to book flights that have lower carbon footprints will be introduced. Plus, Google Maps will provide the most fuel-efficient route as a default.