Google Demonetizes Websites Which Contradict Their Climate Narrative

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to The Register, Google’s advertisers have demanded their ads not be shown on pages which dispute the climate emergency.

Motivated by commerce, not conscience, Google bans ads for climate change consensus contradictors

Publishers won’t get ads, advertisers won’t get a voice, nobody will be spared weeks of tedious culture wars

Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor
Fri 8 Oct 2021 // 02:51 UTC

Google has decided not to run any ads alongside content that “contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change”.

The decision impacts YouTube, advertisers, and publishers. It appears to be primarily a matter of commerce, rather than conscience: the adtech strangler vine has framed the decision as a change to its ads and monetization policy.

“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,” states Google’s missive. “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.”

Hence the new policy, which will bar ads appearing on content that suggests climate change is a hoax, scam, or denies that human activity contributes. Ads suggesting any of the above will also be banned.

Read more: https://www.theregister.com/2021/10/08/google_climate_change/

I’m not sure I believe Google’s explanation.

If they were taking care of commercial customers who don’t want their ads to appear next to climate skeptic stories, they could have just added a checkbox to their ad management console, protected clients who were sensitive about appearing next to climate skeptics, while retaining revenue from what are frequently very popular stories.

In my opinion, banning specifically climate skeptic content could be an attempt to commercially coerce Fox News, Breitbart, and other websites to avoid printing stories which Google doesn’t like – an attempt by Google to use their financial leverage to exert editorial influence over websites read by people who are open to skeptic narratives.

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October 8, 2021 at 12:24PM

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