On Thursday, October 7th, Google announced that it would be changing its monetization policies in regards to climate change. Google will no longer allow for advertisements to appear on “contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.”
Or in other words, Google will not allow climate deniers to profit off of their platform. This not only applies to Google Ads but also to YouTube. This will help prevent the spreading of misinformation because there will no longer be any earning potential.
On top of this, all advertisements that deny the existence of climate change or the seriousness of the issue will no longer be allowed on the platform.
The policy begins next month.
Why Is Google Making This Change?
In the statement, Google lists the exact reason as to why it is making this change. Here is what they had to say:
“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.”
Basically, advertisers do not want their ads appearing on content that goes against their core values. For instance, a website that promotes inaccurate climate change information may end up displaying ads for companies that take the matter very seriously.
This makes those companies look bad for having their content appear on the website or YouTube content. And this isn’t the first time, either. Google has made sweeping changes to its monetization model.
Many might remember the huge changes it made to its YouTube platform in 2016. The goal was to make the platform more family-friendly.
Is This A Big Deal?
First, it will help deter content creators on websites or on YouTube from spreading false information in regards to climate change. Climate deniers that make a living spreading that information will not be doing it on a Google platform in the near future.
However, this goes far beyond content creators. It will have a huge impact on politics.
Let’s not beat around the bush. When it comes to climate change, the United States is divided. It’s a huge issue and has taken center stage in most elections for nearly a decade. And to simplify the matter, one side wants to take action while the other calls it a “hoax.”
This messaging can be seen in the advertisements they run, thus this new rule could end up being challenged in courts. It does prevent them from running such ads on Google platforms, which are among the most popular.
With the announcement still fresh, we will have to wait to see the opposition it receives.
Google Isn’t the Only Tech Company Cracking Down on Climate Deniers
Last month, Facebook also announced a new initiative to fight misinformation about climate change.
The company plans to invest $1 million into the International Fact Checking Network to help stop the spread of misinformation. Though, it has not been introduced to stop misinformation on its own platform.
It is possible that it might follow Google’s lead on this and take the same steps for advertisers.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.