Breaking News

Google still profits from climate lies on YouTube

Google still profits from climate lies on YouTube

Google is still cashing in on climate misinformation on YouTube. The company pledged more than a year ago not to sell ads on content that contradicts mainstream climate science. And yet, in April, researchers were able to find hundreds of videos promoting misinformation about climate change that Google had monetized with ads.

The Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD) Coalition, a group consisting of more than 50 non-profit organizations, published the report today. It pointed to 100 different videos lying about climate change on which Google ran ads, which violates its policy on misinformation. These are videos that clearly contradict what the mountains of evidence tell us about climate change: It is caused by greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.

And it only includes misleading content that falls under Google's more limited criteria for content it says it denies monetization. CAAD advocates a broad definition of disinformation to include misleading content about how to tackle climate change – such as false arguments that nothing can be done about climate change or advertisements that promote purported solutions. Let's give Give which are really ineffective. The report found 100 more videos with similar content, which it worries may be delaying legitimate climate action.

Erika Sieber, climate disruption spokeswoman at the non-profit Friends of the Earth (a member of CHAAD), said, "Google is supporting climate disruption, they say they want to stop ... The misinformation persists. " Because it's profitable, and Big Tech needs to remove that incentive."), said in a press release.

Back in October 2021, Google announced that it was updating its ads and monetization policies on climate change. It said its new policy would "prohibit the advertising and monetization of content that contradicts the well-established scientific consensus about the existence and causes of climate change". Contains material references, denies claims that long-term trends are warming the global climate, and denies claims that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.

But even today, The Verge found that one of the climate disruption videos it highlighted for violating that policy is still running, along with a preroll ad for mosquito lamps. The video was created by The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank notorious for rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change.

"These days, climate change science isn't really science at all," Naomi Seibutt, a frequent speaker at The Heartland Institute, says in the video. “I believe, unfortunately, that the goal is to shame humanity. Climate change alarmism is at its core a very disgusting anti-human ideology.

The science on climate change is clear. It is caused by greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and has already warmed the planet where extreme weather is more frequent and rising sea levels are flooding coastal communities.

A total of 200 Youtube videos analyzed in the report were viewed 73.8 million times as of April 17, 2023. These included advertisements for brands including Costco, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and Hyundai.

Google placed a highlighted box under The Heartland Institute video, which linked to a United Nations webpage explaining climate change. "Climate change refers to long-term changes in temperature and weather patterns caused primarily by human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels," says Box.

That disclaimer was missing from another video in the data set this morning, which says, "Climate hysteria is just another rebrand, a Trojan horse, for white communist tyranny." The video also attacks 20-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, stating that she has "created a generation of cult members."

"It really raises questions about Google's current level of enforcement," Calum Hood, head of research at the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate, which contributed to the report, told the New York Times. After taking the time to watch each video one by one, the research team's findings are "probably just the tip of the iceberg," he says.

No comments