Last Thursday Google announced they were updating their ad and monetization policy in an effort to try to combat climate change misinformation. The new policy comes after advertisers expressed concerns about having their ads being shown next to content that shares and promotes misinformation, hoaxes, and conspiracies theories about climate change. Alongside advertisers, publishers and creators don’t want ads that promote misinformation to appear on their content.
The new policy would prohibit advertisers, publishers, and content creators (with a major focus on YouTube creators) from receiving any type of revenue from their videos or ads that deny or give any type of misinformation about climate change.
The new policy will not affect every type of climate change content. In the document released last Thursday Google announced, “We will also continue to allow ads and monetization on other climate-related topics, including public debates on climate policy, the varying impacts of climate change, new research and more.”
Google has consulted climate science experts when they created the new policy, including experts that have contributed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports. The IPCC is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations that is responsible for educating people on human-induced climate change. Google will also use automated tools and human reviews to enforce the new policy.
Critics have said that Google’s enforcement has not been strict and is instead ineffective at restraining the spread of misinformation. This will also add more backlash to Google since the week before last saw YouTube taking down videos that made false claims about Covid-19 and vaccines.
The new policy is meant to strongly align with the work Google has done over the past decades to promote sustainability and confront climate change. The new policy will start taking effect early next month. Advertisers will also be prohibited from purchasing ads and posting links that lead to a webpage that denies climate change. That policy will start effecting advertisers early December.