Jan 29, 2020 - Energy & Environment

YouTube faces criticism over climate misinformation

YouTube app on a phone screen
Photo: Florian Gaertner/Getty Images

A report this month by the activist group Avaaz alleges YouTube is "driving millions of people to watch climate misinformation" daily.

What they found: One finding is that when users search for "global warming," 16% of the top 100 "related videos" in the "up next" feature had climate disinformation. Another is that major brands are often unaware that their ads run on these videos.

The big picture: Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor, who heads the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, this week urged Google to curb false climate information on YouTube. She called for steps including...

  • Removing climate "denial" and "disinformation" from YouTube's recommendation algorithm.
  • No longer allowing users to monetize videos that "promote harmful misinformation and falsehoods" about climate.

The other side: A YouTube spokesperson said the company has "significantly invested in reducing recommendations of borderline content and harmful misinformation, and raising up authoritative voices."

  • Their policies give advertisers the "tools to opt out of content that doesn’t align with their brand," the spokesperson added.

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