Google stated on Thursday that it is censoring information on its site that contradicts well-established scientific data, effectively shutting out climate-change doubters.
According to a company blog post, Google is taking a two-pronged approach, targeting advertisers and publishing partners who attempt to promote climate change misinformation on pages and videos and YouTube Partner Program creators who attempt to monetize their climate change misinformation videos.
The new law primarily targets assertions that climate change is a “hoax or a scam,” claims that reject long-term environmental patterns, and comments that ignore important contributors to climate change, such as greenhouse gas emissions or human activity. Google will continue to allow monetization and advertising on climate-related topics, including educated debates and scientific research.
“We’ll look carefully at 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,” the business stated in a statement.
This follows a similar significant step last week by Google-owned YouTube, which declared that it would prohibit all anti-vaccination content on its platform except for those pertaining to COVID-19. Last October, YouTube banned falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines. Historically, social media corporations have adopted a hands-off approach to content management but have recently attempted to rein in misinformation across platforms.
Google, the world’s largest digital ad seller, has come under fire from Congress and climate change activists for allowing firms and climate-denying interest groups to purchase search ads. According to Bloomberg, inaccurate, sponsored climate change films on YouTube garnered over 21 million views in 2020, according to analysis from nonprofit organization Avaaz.
Google’s new monetization policy was developed in consultation with experts from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In August, the IPCC released its sixth assessment of the state of climate change, warning of “irreversible” global changes.
The company will start to enforce the new policies in November. The policy change also coincides with the launch of new sustainability features made by Google this week, including Google Maps’ green routes, which are aimed at achieving a “billion sustainable actions,” according to Google’s Chief Sustainability Officer Kate Brandt.