YouTube has recently come under scrutiny for allegedly profiting millions of dollars annually from ads on channels promoting climate denial. This fresh wave of climate denialism is being driven by content creators who are using inventive strategies to bypass the platform’s guidelines, according to a study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).

The CCDH’s report revealed that YouTube is possibly earning up to $13.4 million a year from ads on these channels. This comes from studying over 12,000 videos that have millions of views. This raises big questions about how social media profits from spreading false info.

Climate change denial on YouTube is changing. Instead of just denying climate change, some are now undermining efforts to tackle it. This shift in climate misinformation creates a unique problem as it becomes more difficult to recognize and counter false stories.

Critics say YouTube’s rules, which is meant to stop harmful misinformation, aren’t enough for this new type of climate denial. The CCDH report pointed out three main issues with YouTube. It criticized the platform from possibly making money from climate misinformation, allowing it to spread, and not doing enough to stop it.

YouTube’s role in this issue is particularly alarming considering its vast reach and influence, particularly among younger demographics. A third of UK teenagers reportedly believe that the climate crisis is exaggerated, suggesting a potential correlation between the proliferation of climate misinformation on social media platforms like YouTube and skewed public perceptions of the crisis.

“Debate or discussions of climate change topics, including around public policy or research, is allowed,” a YouTube spokesperson clarified. “However, when content crosses the line to climate change denial, we stop showing ads on those videos.”

As climate change debates heat up, the role of social media in shaping opinions is crucial. These platforms need to make sure their rules and technology don’t inadvertently facilitate the spread harmful misinformation.

The CCDH urged YouTube to change its rules about climate denial content. They believe their analysis could help the environmental movement fight the spread of false claims about global warming.

Image Source: The Mary Sue