Google and YouTube to stop climate deniers from monetising content

Next month's policy change will apply to advertisers, publishers and YouTube content creators

Emissions rise from the smokestacks at the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant near Emmett, Kansas. AP
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Google has said it will no longer allow ads or the monetisation of any content spreading misinformation or fake claims about climate change.

The new policy, which takes effect next month, will apply to advertisers, publishers and YouTube content creators.

The California-based tech giant will ban all content that opposes or challenges well-established scientific agreements around climate change, including content describing global heating as a “hoax or a scam" or denying that greenhouse gas emissions and human activity are driving the climate crisis.

In a blog, Google said it has received complaints from its advertising and publishing partners about ads promoting climate change misinformation.

“Advertisers simply don’t want their ads to appear next to this [fake] content … and publishers and creators don’t want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos," the Alphabet-owned company said.

The platform will still permit ads and monetisation of related issues such as climate policy debates, the impacts of climate change and new research on the topic.

Google said it has consulted “authoritative sources” on the topic of climate science to develop its new policies, including experts who have contributed to reports for the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change.

Google said it will use automated tools and human reviewers to enforce the new policy.

Big technology companies have come under increasing pressure from climate change activists to combat misinformation on their platforms. Last month, Facebook announced a $1 million grant to support the fact-checking of some of the false climate claims that circulate widely on its site.

Google, which became one of the first major firms to become carbon-neutral in 2007, said it is also investing in technologies to help its partners make sustainable climate choices.

As part of its latest updates announced on Wednesday, Google will display information about carbon emissions on its Flights service, where users can view emissions per seat and review carbon-friendly travel options such as eco-certified hotels.

Maps, one of Google's most widely-used features, will also have a new eco-friendly routing. The service, which was announced earlier this year, shows fuel consumption data on routes, allowing users to choose the quickest and sustainable routes.

Last year, it pledged to run all its campuses and data centres on carbon-free energy by 2030.

Updated: October 08, 2021, 1:22 PM