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Google bans ads that spread misinformation about the environment


Profiting from climate change denial has just gotten a little more difficult.

The Google Ads team announced yesterday that it will “ban the promotion and monetization of content that contradicts the established scientific consensus on the existence and causes of climate change.” The policy changes apply to Google advertisers, publishers who serve Google ads, and YouTube creators.

Google LLC plans to implement the new rules next month if world leaders plan to attend a United Nations conference aimed at accelerating action to combat climate change and could put pressure on advertising rival Facebook Inc. to act against climate misinformation.

“This is welcome news – and a long overdue step in the right direction,” said MP Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) In a statement. As chair of the special committee on the climate crisis, she called on Google boss Sundar Pichai last year to ensure that his websites do not provide incentives for climate denial (E&E Daily, January 28, 2020).

According to data company Statista, Google generated more than $ 134.8 billion in online advertising revenue in 2020, more than any other company.

“This is by no means the end of our fight,” added Castor. “Once this policy goes into effect, we will monitor its progress and implementation while we continue to hold Google and others responsible for the lies and misinformation about the climate that is too often circulated on their platforms.”

The move came in response to customer complaints, according to Google.

“In recent years, we’ve heard directly from a growing number of our advertising and publisher partners who have raised concerns about ads being displayed alongside or with false claims about climate change,” the Google Ads team wrote.

“Advertisers just don’t want their ads to appear next to this content,” they said. “And publishers and creators don’t want ads to appear on their pages or videos for these claims.”

Specifically, the search giant’s new bans include “content that references climate change as a hoax or fraud, claims that deny that long-term trends show global climate warming, and claims that deny that greenhouse gas emissions or human activities cause climate change.” contribute”. said the Google Ads team.

The rules are enforced through “a combination of automated tools and human review,” they said.

The company declined to indicate which customers or how many ads would be affected by the change. “It’s a very small number,” said a spokesman.

Environmentalists hope the move will force Facebook to follow Google’s lead. The social media company is the second largest destination for online advertising money, generating nearly $ 69.7 billion in revenue last year.

“Businesses are starting to see the writing on the wall – that there’s no place left for climate denial,” said Michael Khoo, who works on climate misinformation for Friends of the Earth, in an interview. “Facebook needs to rise next.”

The social media company did not respond to a request for comment.

Reprinted from E&E News with permission from POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2021. E&E News provides important news for energy and environmental professionals.


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