A new report from global activism nonprofit Avaaz reveals that YouTube’s algorithms are running ads from major brands on climate-change misinformation videos. In total, Avaaz identified 108 brands that were having their ads associated with climate change misinformation videos, including Samsung, L’Oréal, Decathlon, Danone, Warner Bros., and Carrefour.
Worse, Avaaz found that one in five of those 108 brands included companies that pride themselves on their green and ethical stances, including Greenpeace, WWF, L’Oréal, Samsung, Danone, Decathlon, Carrefour, Ecosia, Nikin, and Save the Children. Avaaz says that all of the brands they contacted were unaware that their ads were running on climate change misinformation videos. Such videos allege climate change is a “hoax,” and one purported to expose the “climate engineering vaccination danger.”
To mitigate the misinformation about climate change spread on YouTube, and brands having their reputations ruined by appearing to be purposely advertising on these videos, Avaaz says YouTube “must end its free promotion of misinformation and disinformation videos by extracting such videos from its algorithms, starting immediately by including climate misinformation in its borderline content policy.”
The nonprofit also says YouTube needs to end the monetization of disinformation and misinformation videos, including giving advertisers the ability to exclude their ads from videos with climate change misinformation. But Avaaz also says YouTube shouldn’t be the only one responsible for promoting this change. Brands themselves “must establish detailed ethical ad placement requirements for platforms that include correcting the record and detoxing the algorithm,” the nonprofit suggests.