Youtube’s climate denial dollars

A CAAD and CCDH report reveals Google and YouTube's failure to combat climate disinformation effectively, exposing numerous misleading videos, with millions of views, remaining monetised despite policy violations.

New report exposes Google and YouTube’s failure to combat climate disinformation

A new report by the CAAD coalition and the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) highlights YouTube’s failure to uphold its own policy of demonetising videos spreading climate disinformation. The report reveals that despite Google’s climate misinformation policy, many misleading videos that received millions of views continue to be exempted from demonetisation.

The report analysed 200 videos and found:

  • 100 of them violated Google’s climate misinformation policy, resulting in at least 18 million views.
  • 100 videos contained climate disinformation that did not fall under Google’s narrow definition but met CAAD’s definition of climate disinformation, receiving a staggering 55 million views.
  • Despite the policy violation, only eight videos were demonetised, while the remaining monetised videos have amassed at least 72 million views containing misleading information about climate change.

Report follows previous research showing that Google has repeatedly breached its pledge

This report is not the first to show that Google has repeatedly broken its promise not to profit from ads on climate denial content. A recent study by the CCDH revealed that 63% of popular climate denial articles still carry Google ads, while the Daily Wire was permitted to run ads on searches for “climate change is a hoax.”

Furthermore, the report’s release follows the European Commission’s recent designation of 19 online platforms, including Google, as falling within the ambit of the Digital Services Act. Consequently, Google is now subject to new requirements, which must be met within four months, placing greater urgency on the company to step up and take action on disinformation on its platform. 

CAAD and CCDH: It’s time for Google to uphold its promise and stop monetising climate disinformation

The report by CAAD and CCDH urges Google to enforce its promise of not profiting from climate denial on all of its advertising platforms, including YouTube, and to broaden its policy to address other widespread forms of climate disinformation, as outlined by CAAD’s definition. The failure to demonetise videos spreading climate disinformation undermines significantly important climate action efforts by providing a platform for such misinformation to reach a vast audience and generate revenue for the content creators.

Big Tech must take responsibility for climate disinformation on their platforms

Tech companies, like Google, should take responsibility for the content they host and the revenue they generate from it. Climate change is a global threat that requires collective action, and the spread of mis- and disinformation through digital platforms only serves to hamper progress towards tackling this issue.