Google Bans Ads That Spread Climate Misinformation

Profiting from climate change denial just got a little bit more difficult.

The Google ads team announced yesterday it will “prohibit ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.” The policy changes apply to Google advertisers, publishers that run Google ads and YouTube creators.

Google LLC plans to implement the new rules next month, when world leaders are planning to attend a United Nations conference aimed at accelerating action to fight climate change, and could put pressure on advertising rival Facebook Inc. to crack down on climate misinformation.

“This is welcome news — and a long overdue step in the right direction,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) said in a statement. As chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, she urged Google head Sundar Pichai last year to ensure his sites weren’t incentivizing climate denial (E&E Daily, Jan. 28, 2020).

Google brought in over $134.8 billion in online ad revenue in 2020, more than any other company, according to the data firm Statista.

“This is by no means the end of our fight,” Castor added. “Once this policy goes into effect, we will be monitoring its progress and implementation, as we continue holding Google and others accountable for the lies and climate misinformation that are too often spread on their platforms.”

The move was made in response to customer complaints, according to Google.

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