Report claims YouTube is promoting 'climate change denier' videos
YouTube on a mobile phone. (freestocks.org / Pexels)
TORONTO -- A new report claims YouTube is promoting “climate change denier” videos, allegations the popular website is disputing.
The report, published by left-leaning online advocacy group Avaaz, claims YouTube is promoting and monetizing videos that spread misinformation on climate change. The organization says it analyzed over 5,000 videos by searching for key terms like “climate change” and “global warming” to find the top-related videos.
In the report, which was published Thursday, Avaaz states videos titled “What they haven’t told you about climate change” and “The truth about global warming” were among the top hits.
Avaaz also analyzed the ads running on these videos, which contain advertisements from big brands like Uber, L’Oreal, Lionsgate and Nintendo.
“In total, Avaaz was able to identify 108 brands running ads on these climate misinformation videos. One in five of the ads shown were from green or ethical brands as well as public entities, such as Greenpeace International, WWF [World Wildlife Fund],” the report said.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca, a spokesperson for YouTube Canada indicated that the company’s recommendations system is not programed by opinions.
“We can’t speak to Avaaz’s methodology or results, and our recommendations systems are not designed to filter or demote videos or channels based on specific perspectives,” the statement read.
In relation to the ads, YouTube states advertisers have the option to opt out of videos that don’t align with their brand.
YouTube started a campaign in January 2019 that would promote “authoritative sources” such as news organizations to “provide users with context alongside their content.”
Avaaz is calling for YouTube to enforce stricter rules when users upload misleading content.
“To ensure that YouTube is no longer amplifying dangerous content, the platform should extract all videos known to be misinformation from its algorithms, starting immediately with climate denial and climate misinformation videos,” Avaaz said in its report.