Congresswoman Kathy Castor wants Google CEO Sundar Pichai to “stop promoting climate denial and misinformation videos” on the company’s YouTube platform.
“I urge you to ensure that YouTube is not incentivizing climate misinformation content on its platform, or effectively giving free advertising to those who seek to protect polluters and their profits at the expense of the American people,” wrote Castor, chair of the House select committee on the climate crisis, in a Jan. 27 letter to Pichai.
Her letter follows a report released Jan. 16 by Avaaz, online activist group, that charted YouTube recommendations to users searching “global warming,” “climate change,” and/or “climate manipulation.”
Avaaz found that 16 percent of the top 100 related videos for global warming contained misinformation.
The percentages were eight percent and 21 percent for climate change and manipulation, respectively.
The group found that YouTube advertisers including L’Oreal, Samsung, Danone, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Carrefour ran ads linked to the misinformation videos.
Castor noted that YouTube is “the most social platform in the US.” Three-of-four American adults watch videos on YouTube. Nine out of ten Americans under age 30 use it.
The Florida Democrat praised Google for “leading the fight against the climate crisis” and “displaying an important commitment to shifting the American American economy toward a clean energy future.”
She wants to hear from Pichai by Feb. 7 on his plan to remove climate denial videos from YouTube, stop monetizing misinformation material and to correct the record for millions of users who have been exposed to bogus climate information.