YouTube accused of making money on climate change denial videos


Google, in October 2021, updated its ads and monetisation policies on climate change with an aim to better protect users from unreliable claims. It also said that the company will not sell ads on content that refers to climate change as a hoax or a scam. But a new report has claimed that Google is still making money by advertising alongside such videos.
The Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD) said in its report that researchers identified 200 YouTube videos containing climate misinformation and disinformation with 73.8 million views in total as of April 17, 2023.
“The videos have all featured ads, and contained either outright denial of climate science that violates YouTube’s existing policies or other forms of climate disinformation,” the report highlighted.
Google’s policy on climate change
Google updated its 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.”
The company said that the content will include videos that refer to “climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims to deny that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.”
About 100 videos carried ads
The report said that 100 videos breached Google’s policy, according to which ads are not permitted on videos “contradicting authoritative scientific consensus on the existence of and cause behind climate change”.
These 100 videos reportedly carried ads, with videos amassing a total of 18.8 million views. The ads were for brands including Costco, Politico and Tommy Hilfiger.
‘YouTube profiting from climate denial videos’
The report said that YouTube is still profiting from climate denial videos with millions of views. The CAAD also claimed to have found additional 100 videos that fall “outside its [Google’s] narrow definition but meet the group’s definition of climate misinformation and disinformation.
“YouTube is still running ads on climate denial videos racking up millions of views, despite Google’s promise to stop monetising them,” the report noted.

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