Google Breaks Promise To Defund Climate-Change Lies, Research

Google announced two years ago it would stop running ads alongside videos that denied the existence and causes of climate change, but one research company reports that the advertisements are continuing.

The monetization policy announced in October 2021 stated that Google would “prohibit ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.”

It also included content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam and claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, as well as claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.

Based on research by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a non-profit that counters the spread of online misinformation, the researchers found 100 videos that had been viewed collectively at least 18 million times.



The videos were viewed on Google and YouTube. All violated Google’s own policy. The study was first cited by The New York Times.

Two examples include a YouTube video titled “who is Leonardo DiCaprio,” where someone might have found claims that “climate change is a hoax, although this did not happen when Inside Performance tried to replicate the search. The report cited other examples such as a pre-roll ad for Alaska Airlines also ran on a search for “how climate activists distort the evidence.”

Jane Fonda, who runs a political action committee devoted to fighting climate change, stated to the NYT it was “abhorrent that YouTube would violate its own policy” by running climate-hoax videos with ads, giving the content further validity while “the earth is burning.”

John Schwartz, a journalism professor, University of Texas at Austin, in a tweet pointed to one climate-change video in which the narrator says the melting of the massive ice sheets in places like Antarctica is causing the earth to wobble, changing its axis by a slight amount and resulting in warming. The narrator says there’s a difference between weather and climate, which is the long-term average of weather over 20-to-30 years. Her point, despite weather fluctuations, climate change is real.

In Wyoming this year, just south of Jackson Hole, for example, the area had the coldest and longest winter in four to five years. In fact, it’s May 2023, and there’s still several feet of snow on the ground. California also saw record rains and snow this year.

Ads for Grubhub, the food-delivery service, appeared before climate-denial videos numerous times, the NYT reported. A Grubhub spokeswoman said the company was working with YouTube and other partners to “prevent Grubhub ads from appearing alongside content that promotes misinformation.”

YouTube has already removed ads from several videos researchers flagged, including one that promoted “80 for Brady.”

Some of America’s biggest brands--Costco, Politico, and Calvin Klein--were found to run on the videos, according to the research from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which insists that Google start enforcing its promise.

The research aims to show that YouTube is failing to keep its promise to stop profiting from climate denial, and is profiting from a wider range of climate disinformation that falls outside of its existing policy.



1 comment about "Google Breaks Promise To Defund Climate-Change Lies, Research".
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  1. T Bo from Wordpress, May 3, 2023 at 11:31 a.m.

    What all does the Center for Countering Digital Hate wish to deplatform?

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