Twitter bans ads that promote climate change denial

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A person using Twitter on an iPhone (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Archive)
A person using Twitter on an iPhone (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Archive)

Twitter has banned advertisements on its website that promote climate change denial.

The social media giant said ads that contradict scientific consensus on the environmental crisis will not be permitted on the platform.

“Ads shouldn’t detract from important conversations about the climate crisis,” the company said in a statement outlining its new policy.

There was no indication that the change would affect what users post on the social media site, which along with Facebook has been targeted by groups seeking to promote misleading claims about climate change.

The announcement, coinciding with Earth Day, came hours before the European Union agreed upon a deal requiring big tech companies to vet their sites more closely for hate speech, disinformation and other harmful content.

Twitter said it would provide more information in the coming months on how it plans to provide “reliable, authoritative context to the climate conversations” its users engage in, including from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The UN-backed science panel’s reports on the causes and effects of climate change provide the basis for international negotiations to curb climate change.

Twitter already has a dedicated climate topic on its site and offered what it described as “pre-bunks” during last year’s U.N. climate conference to counter misinformation surrounding climate change.

It comes after Google announced it will block digital adverts from appearing alongside climate change denial content across its platforms including YouTube.

The internet giant said it has had complaints from a number of its advertising and publishing partners about misinformation.

In a blog post, Google said it will now “prohibit ads for, and monetisation of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change”.

“This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change,” the company said.

The new policy will “look carefully” at the context in which claims are made and differentiate between those which state a false claim as fact – which will be banned – and content that just reports on or discusses a claim, Google added.

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