Florida Congresswoman Backs Google, YouTube Removing Ads Denying Climate Change

Google announced last week that it will pull ads and monetized activities on its sites, including YouTube, that deny climate change–and a key congresswoman from the Sunshine State is applauding the move.

“Working closely with outside experts, we regularly review and update our ads and monetization policies to help ensure a brand-safe environment for our advertising partners and to better protect users from unreliable claims, such as fake medical cures or anti-vaccine advocacy,” Google announced. “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. 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.

“That’s why today, we’re announcing a new monetization policy for Google advertisers, publishers and YouTube creators that will prohibit ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change. This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change,” Google added. “When evaluating content against this new policy, 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. We will also continue to allow ads and monetization on other climate-related topics, including public debates on climate policy, the varying impacts of climate change, new research and more.

“In creating this policy and its parameters, we’ve consulted authoritative sources on the topic of climate science, including experts who have contributed to United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports. As is the case for many of our policies, we’ll use a combination of automated tools and human review to enforce this policy against violating publisher content, Google-served ads, and YouTube videos that are monetizing via YouTube’s Partner Program. We’ll begin enforcing this policy next month,” Google continued. “This new policy not only will help us strengthen the integrity of our advertising ecosystem, but also it aligns strongly with the work we’ve done as a company over the past two decades to promote sustainability and confront climate change head-on.”

From her perch as the chairwoman of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., applauded the news.

“This is welcome news – and a long overdue step in the right direction,” said Castor. “If we are to solve the climate crisis, we must do more to fight the misinformation that hinders climate action and endangers the health and safety of families across America.

“This is by no means the end of our fight. 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,” Castor added.

At the start of last year, Castor wrote Google CEO Sundar Pichai calling on the company to “stop monetizing videos that promote harmful misinformation and falsehoods about the causes and effects of the climate crisis.”

“As we all work together to solve this crisis, we must also eliminate barriers to action, including those as pervasive and harmful as climate denial and climate misinformation,” Castor wrote Pichai.

First elected to Congress in 2006, Castor is one of the top Democrats on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees health policy among other things. Castor represents parts of Hillsborough County in a secure Democratic district. Back in November, Castor easily handled Christine Quinn, taking more than 60 percent of the vote.

KEVIN DERBY
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