Data: Google Trends; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios
Google’s new policy of demonetizing climate denial content marks a significant step in its efforts to rein in climate misinformation.
Why it matters: Videos promoting clear falsehoods about the existence of global warming or its causes have long found a home on YouTube, which Google owns.
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Meanwhile, on search, ads for climate contrarian websites have consistently appeared next to search listings for sites offering politically neutral and scientifically rigorous evidence.
Driving the news: The company’s announcement Thursday that the new policy takes effect Nov. 1, during the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, could cool the political polarization around climate in the U.S.
How it works: Per a Google statement, the policy affects the 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 plans to use “automated tools and human review” to put the policy into practice.
The system does not seek to limit policy debate, making Google’s job easier but potentially allowing the promotion of partisan assaults on established science.
Discerning denial can…