Late Thursday, Google announced that it is demonetizing content that makes misleading or false claims about climate change. As a result, content that calls into question or denies the scientific consensus around anthropogenic climate change will not have Google advertising alongside it. In addition, Google will no longer run any advertising that “contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.”
With a worldwide public-health crisis taking place in the midst of natural disasters that are fueled, at least in part, by human-caused climate change, the amount of misinformation and outright falsehoods is not only frustrating but dangerous. Google has been criticized for its role in the spread of misinformation, and lots of people are unhappy with it. People paying for ads don’t want their ads appearing alongside misinformation-filled videos, and content producers don’t want to see their product interrupted by error-filled ads.
Message received, says Google. “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,” Google said. “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.”
Google will be using its usual combo of human eyes and automated tools for enforcement once the policy goes into effect in November.