YouTube is making millions of dollars a year from advertising on channels that make false claims about climate change because content creators are using new tactics that evade the social media platform’s policies to combat misinformation, according to a report published on Tuesday.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) used artificial intelligence to review transcripts from 12,058 videos from the past six years on 96 of Alphabet’s YouTube channels. The channels promoted content that undermines the scientific consensus on climate change that human behavior is contributing to long-term shifts in temperature and weather patterns, the report said.
CCDH, a nonprofit that monitors online hate speech, said its analysis found that climate denial content has shifted away from false claims that global warming is not happening or that it is not caused by greenhouse gases produced from burning fossil fuels. Videos espousing such claims are explicitly banned from generating ad revenue on YouTube, according to Google’s policy.
Instead, the report found that, last year, 70% of climate denial content on the channels analyzed focused on attacking climate solutions as unworkable . . .