Google to block ads from appearing next to content denying climate change

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YouTube says it will remove false claims that vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility

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Alphabet Inc.’s Google will no longer allow digital ads purchased on its platform to appear next to online content that denies climate change, a ban that will also apply to YouTube, the company’s giant online-video service.

Google, the world’s largest digital-advertising company by revenue, said in a blog post Thursday that the ban “applies to content that contradicts the well-established scientific consensus about the existence and causes of climate change.” It also applies to any material that denies human activity or greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change.

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Google’s move aims to cut off a major source of income for providers of climate-change misinformation. Google’s $147 billion in advertising revenue comes from selling ad space in its own products like YouTube, as well as advertising on thousands of sites across the web.

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A Google spokesperson said the company would use “a combination of automated tools and human review” to implement its policy.

Google is a leading provider of tools used in the many steps of buying and selling online ads—whether they run on Google’s own platform or sites on the Web. According to research firm eMarketer, Google is expected to account for 29% of global digital-advertising spending in 2021.

For several years, Google has prohibited advertising on content that is deemed misleading to the public or unattractive to advertisers, including civil disinformation, propaganda about the coronavirus pandemic, and certain content featuring minors .

Critics say Google’s enforcement has been lax and ineffective in preventing the spread of misinformation.

YouTube bans all anti-vaccine content that contributes to misinformation

NewsGuard, a company that tracks and rates news sites that traffic in objectionable information, published a report earlier this year that said more than 4,000 brands have lost their lives in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. -19 Purchased advertisements on websites that publish false information. NewsGuard, created by Steven Brill, founder of Court TV and a former publisher of the Wall Street Journal, said, “In most cases, the ads were unintentional, intentionally placed by algorithms on programmatic ad-buying platforms such as Google’s DV360, rather than by the brands involved. Had gone.” L. Gordon Krovitz.

A Google spokesperson said the company often takes action when content is found to violate its policies, noting that Google has removed ads for policy violations from “thousands of sites” in the past month alone.

Other tech companies, including Facebook Inc., have put in place policies to limit the spread and monetization of disinformation on their platforms. Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen said the company’s efforts have been ineffective, and she testified before a Senate subcommittee this week about other issues.

Last week, YouTube said it would remove false claims that vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility, among other things, expanding the video platform’s efforts to curb COVID-19 misinformation for other vaccines. Huh.

A Google spokesperson said the company’s policy to ban ads on content that denies climate change takes effect in 30 days. In addition, advertisers will be prohibited from purchasing ads that deny climate change or link to a webpage that denies climate change, he said. He said the policy affecting advertisers becomes effective in 60 days.


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