YouTube profits from Ads on channels promoting climate misinformation – Report


YOUTUBE makes $13 million a year from advertising on channels propagating false claims about climate change, says the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) in its recent report.

The Centre stated that it used artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the text transcripts of 12,058 climate-related YouTube videos from the last six years containing what researchers labelled as “new denial” arguments.

The study concluded that the Google Inc.-owned online video-sharing platform (YouTube) is making huge profits from videos containing climate falsehoods, and thus breaching its policy on climate misinformation.

The findings showed that the channels promote content that undermines the scientific consensus on climate change that human behaviour is contributing to long-term shifts in temperature and weather patterns.

According to the report, the challenge persists because content creators are using new tactics that evade the social media platform’s policies to combat misinformation.

“A new front has opened up in this battle,” Imran Ahmed, chief executive of CCDH, said on a call with reporters. “The people that we’ve been looking at, they’ve gone from saying climate change isn’t happening to now saying, ‘Hey, climate change is happening but there is no hope. There are no solutions.'”

The report alleged that YouTube is making up to $13.4 million a year from ads on the channels that the report analyzed and the AI model was crafted to be able to distinguish between reasonable scepticism and false information.

CCDH called on YouTube to update its policy on climate denial content adding that the analysis could assist the environmental movement to combat false claims about global warming more broadly.

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Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.


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