Google demonetizes content creators who deny climate change

The tech giant claims it will be able to differentiate between content “that states a false claim as fact, versus content that reports on or discusses that claim.”

Google demonetizes content creators who deny climate change
AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah
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Google has announced a plan to ban advertisements and will stop funding any media that contradicts the “scientific consensus” on climate change. The move is the company’s latest attempt to stamp out alternative voices that have questioned the claims made by progressives and the green energy lobby, which argue that human activities are the main driver of global warming.

The prohibition is the result of Google’s consultation with authorities responsible for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The crackdown on climate change questioners is set to begin in November.  

Bloomberg reports that the prohibition will apply to ads placed by Google, as well as websites and YouTube videos that run Google ads. The commercial ban will affect any content that denies any human contribution to global warming, or treats climate change “as a hoax or a scam,” Google said in a blog post on Thursday.

The company wrote:

Working closely with outside experts, we regularly review and update our ads and monetization policies to help ensure a brand-safe environment for our advertising partners and to better protect users from unreliable claims, such as fake medical cures or anti-vaccine advocacy.


In recent years, 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. Advertisers simply don’t want their ads to appear next to this content. And publishers and creators don’t want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos.

That’s why today, we’re announcing a new monetization policy for Google advertisers, publishers and YouTube creators that will prohibit ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change. This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.

Google claims that when it is evaluating content against the new policy, the plans to “look carefully at the context in which claims are made.” The tech giant claims it will be able to differentiate between content “that states a false claim as fact, versus content that reports on or discusses that claim.” 

“We will also continue to allow ads and monetization on other climate-related topics, including public debates on climate policy, the varying impacts of climate change, new research and more,” the company wrote.

Google is the internet's largest seller of digital ads, and has faced criticism for allowing companies that contradict or deny climate change to buy ad space. Bloomberg reports that on YouTube, inaccurate videos about climate change received more than 21 million views and frequently ran ads, according to research in 2020 from Avaaz.

The explosive report prompted members of Congress to admonish the tech giant, which proudly boasts about its environmental record. This week, the company launched several eco-friendly features for its Google Maps service, and other applications

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