Google said it will prohibit ads and monetization of YouTube videos and publisher content that deny climate change or contradict “well-established scientific consensus” about the causes of climate change.
YouTube will still allow videos with falsehoods about climate change on its platform — but will demonetize videos or channels that promote hoaxes or conspiracy theories about the topic.
Google plans to start enforcing the policy next month, using a mix of automated tools and human reviewers to identify violating publisher content, Google-served ads and YouTube videos that earn ad revenue through the YouTube Partner Program.
“In recent years, we’ve heard directly from a growing number of our advertising and publisher partners who have expressed concerns about ads that run alongside or promote inaccurate claims about climate change,” the internet giant said in announcing the new policy Thursday. “Advertisers simply don’t want their ads to appear next to this content. And publishers and creators don’t want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos.”
Under the policy, Google will reject ads and block advertising for content with misinformation such as: referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam; denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming; and denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.
Google said it will consider the context in which claims are made, “differentiating between content that states a false claim as fact, versus content that reports on or discusses that claim.” For example, YouTube videos with educational, documentary, commentary or news content about climate change may continue to run ads.
The move comes as YouTube has taken other steps to crack down on misinformation on the platform — after months and even years of critics calling for more stringent policing. Last week, YouTube banned content that includes false claims and conspiracy theories about all approved vaccines, after previously cracking down on misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
Google said that in creating the policy banning ads from running with climate-denial claims, it consulted “authoritative sources” on the topic of climate science, including experts who contributed to UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports.