Google and YouTube are prohibiting ads for, and monetisation 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. The policy will be enforced next month.
The latest update comes after it has heard from an increasing number of its ad and publisher partners in recent years about concerns around ads that run alongside or promote inaccurate claims about climate change. The tech giant explained in a blog post that this new policy will not only help it strengthen the integrity of its ad ecosystem but also aligns strongly with the work it has done as a company over the past two decades to promote sustainability and confront climate change head-on.
When evaluating content against this new policy, Google said it will look carefully at the context in which the claims are made, differentiating between content that states a false claim as fact, versus content that reports on or discusses that claim. It will also continue to allow ads on monetisation on other climate-related topics, including public debates on climate policy, the varying impacts of climate change, and new research, among others.
Google said it consulted authoritative sources on the topic of climate science when creating this policy and its parameters. They included experts who have contributed to United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports. "As is the case for many of our policies, we’ll use a combination of automated tools and human review to enforce this policy against violating publisher content, Google-served ads, and YouTube videos that are monetizing via YouTube’s Partner Programme," Google said.
Among Google's list of sustainable commitments is operating on carbon-free energy 24/7 by 2030. It also plans to deploy US$5.75 billion in sustainability bonds and eliminate all its legacy carbon emissions since 1998. The company has been a carbon-neutral one since 2007.
Separately, YouTube recently expanded its ban on medical misinformation to include videos that make false claims about vaccines and misinformation on currently administered vaccines that are approved by local health authorities and the World Health Organisation. The platform will remove content that specifically involves false allegations that approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects, claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease, or contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines.
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