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Google to stop pairing ads with climate change misinformation

AFP/San Francisco
Filed on October 8, 2021

(AP file)

The policy change aligns with efforts by the company to promote sustainable practices and confront climate change

Google on Thursday said it will no longer post ads next to misinformation about climate change on its search engine or on global video-sharing platform YouTube.

The new policy for Google advertisers, publishers and YouTube creators will prohibit the platforms from helping people make money from content that “contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.”

That includes online content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, or denying the world’s temperature is rising and that human activity is contributing to the problem, Google said in a post.

“Advertisers simply don’t want their ads to appear next to this content,” Google said.

“And publishers and creators don’t want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos.”

The internet giant added that the policy change aligns with efforts by the company to promote sustainable practices and confront climate change.

“Google’s important decision to demonetise climate misinformation could turn the tide on the climate denial economy,” said NGO Avaaz campaign director Fadi Quran.

“For years, climate misinformers have confused public opinion and obstructed urgent political action on climate change, and YouTube has been one of their weapons of choice.”

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Quran urged other online platforms to follow Google’s lead and stop funnelling money to those peddling debunked denials of climate change.

Social networking colossus Facebook, which is Google’s biggest competitor in the digital advertising market, touts efforts to curb climate misinformation at its platform but has no such ad ban in place.

Social media platforms are regularly accused of promoting content that provokes strong emotional responses in order to keep users engaged so the platforms can make more money made from ads, even if the content can cause harm.





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