Climate-change deniers will be restricted from monetisation or displaying ads, according to Google’s new policy.
The new policy prohibits the advertisement and monetisation of content that argues against the scientific consensus to do with climate-change’s existence.
The prohibition will cover all their platforms, most notably YouTube.
The policy announcement comes in a support document where it is also stated that the content or videos that appear to promote false or inaccurate information about climate-change has sparked concern among Google advertising partners.
Advertisers simply don’t want their ads to appear next to this content. That’s why today, we’re announcing a new monetisation policy for Google advertisers, publishers and YouTube creators that will prohibit ads for, and monetisation of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change. – Google’s Ads Team
It goes the other way too, with content creators refusing to have ads promoting unscientific claims appear next to their videos or webpages.
The restrictions cover any references to climate change being a hoax or scam; denial of long-term observations of climate-change; and any attempts to refute that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel consumption and other Earth-damaging human activities have and continue to contribute to climate-change.
The review process to enforce the new policy will include both automated processes and human processes.
Context will play an important part in the review process to discern if the misinformation is being presented as fact, or if it is simply being discussed or disputed, and Google will ensure that the automated tools and human reviews will look closely at what is being stated within the content.
Ads and monetisation won’t be restricted on the various other climate-related topics, as the aim isn’t to stifle discussion. Debates on climate policy, impacts of climate-change, and new or burgeoning research, etc, will still be allowed to have ads or be monetised.
The guideline of the policy includes consultation from experts who contributed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports.
It also follows as Google’s second big misinformation policy change in less than a month, making up a wider crackdown of ‘fake news’ and the misinformation that is easily spread on the internet.
Last month, content surrounding anti-vaccine misinformation was blocked by Youtube. Misinformation such as claims that flu shots cause infertility or persistent claims that vaccines cause autism are such examples of the content that is blocked on Google’s platforms. The updated policy will now cover any misinformation surrounding the substances that make up a vaccine.
There is insurmountable pressure on tech giants like Google to address the spread of misinformation on their platforms, even Facebook has invested a $1 million grant into fact-checking false climate claims.
There have also been a number of climate-awareness products launched by Google to help against climate-change, such as a Google Maps setting which finds the most eco-friendly route for users.
Currently, the Biden administration is attempting to pass the Build Back Better Act, which includes a $3.5 trillion spending package, with the intention of tackling climate change. The legislation includes a tax on methane gas, expanding tax credits for renewables and electric vehicles, and pushing utilities to use more clean energy.
These measures could reduce the US’ greenhouse gas emissions up to 936 million tonnes by 2030, according to research firm Rhodium Group.