Congress urges Google to act against 'dangerous climate misinformation' on YouTube

Key Points
  • Climate Committee Chair Kathy Castor penned a letter to Google, requesting the company take action against disinformation related to climate change.
  • The committee urges the company to add ‘climate misinformation’ to YouTube’s policy of borderline content.
  • It asks that the company respond by Feb. 7th.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.
Liu Jie | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Congressmembers are calling for Google to take action against climate disinformation.

The U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis wrote a letter addressed to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, requesting the company take action against climate disinformation — specifically on its video platform, YouTube.

"YouTube has been driving millions of viewers to climate misinformation videos every day, a shocking revelation that runs contrary to Google's important missions of fighting misinformation and promoting climate action," wrote Kathy Castor, chair of the committee.' "Last September, you proudly declared that 'sustainability has become one of Google's core values from our earliest days,' and announced 'the biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history.'"

Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The letter comes as YouTube, which is one of Google's largest businesses, faces scrutiny over the spread of hateful content and misinformation on its platform. In recent months, Google has updated policies to try and stem that -- especially as the 2020 presidential elections near. The company delayed its reaction to curbing misinformation among political ads following backlash late last year.

Castor noted various media reports and accused the company of incentivizing climate misinformation content while "giving free advertising" to those who promote harmful pollutants. The letter asked the company to stop monetizing videos that promote falsehoods and "take steps to correct the record" for those who've been exposed to climate misinformation.

The committee gave the company a deadline of Feb. 7 to respond with a plan to address climate disinformation.

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