When there's a new law that takes effect, how long do people get to keep breaking it before it's enforced? When you went to school, or at your home with your kids, when there's a rule, is it expected to be enforced? How long of a "grace period" do people get to keep breaking the rules?
We ask because at Google, it seems like the answer is that you make a rule and then forget about it and assume everyone who is the reason for such a rule to exist in the first place is just going to voluntarily start behaving out of their own innate fear of breaking the rules. Or something.
In October of 2021, Google announced that it was banning climate disinformation from its advertising system, including on YouTube. That (should have) meant videos denying the scientific reality that fossil fuels are causing climate change shouldn't have ads on them, and websites that publish such false claims would also be barred from using Google's ad services.
In October of 2022, it's still all too easy to find climate disinformation on YouTube that's selling ads. FoxNews clips that get fact checked? Still monetized. UK's version of Fox, GBNews, having a PR exec turned professional denier on to say the "'UK Government has been taken over by sleeper agents"? Making ad money. Hate speech test case Mark Steyn interviewing pro-J6-insurrection Marc Morano and debunked-by-deniers Monckton about their recent invitation to be a laughing stock? Monetized! Amateur that depends on professionals Tom Nelson's podcast videos, Alex Epstein on Glenn Beck, John Stossel tapping deceased denier Pat Michaels to deny hurricane science, and our favorite, the canonically bad climate denial video, the Great Global Warming Swindle, that Avaaz called out in 2020, are all monetized.
And that's just on YouTube! There's also Google's sprawling advertising display business. Google gets paid to place ads on websites across the internet. Its policy against climate disinformation should mean that it doesn't place ads on websites that publish climate disinformation. And the company should care about that, because big name advertisers are very clear about not wanting their products to appear next to the casual bigotry, hatred and lies found on websites that carry climate disinformation.
But apparently a year is still not enough time for Google to actually enforce its demonetization policy, because a new report from Dewey Square Group found Google "is by far the most significant advertising supplier on websites that promote climate disinformation both in terms of the share of sites they enable and the ad traffic they monetize."
Using weekly visits as the metric, of the total 113 websites analyzed, Google ads accounted for 97.7% of the projected weekly visits. Assuming an average price, "Google would potentially have pulled in $7.6 million in display advertising revenue over the past year from such sites" the report states.
Of the top 50 climate disinfo websites by traffic, like Breitbart and The Dailies Wire and Caller, Dewey analysts found that Google was serving ads on 39 of them.
Not only is Google still monetizing climate disinfo, it's the biggest player in the game, and it's working with the biggest, most obvious publishers of harmful climate denial.
Despite its own rule saying it explicitly would not do that. Apparently it’s less of a policy, and more of a request...