Google Ads Helped Daily Wire Spread Climate Denial, Report Finds

A Google Ads logo displayed on a smartphone with blue world data stats in the background
Google Ads has helped spread disinformation about climate change. Photo Illustration by Filip Radwanski / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images
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Google helped Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire spread climate disinformation online by selling the outlet millions of dollars of advertising, revealed a new report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

By selling ads to the popular conservative disinformation site for searches like “climate change is a hoax” and “is global warming a scam,” Google ensured the climate disinformation at the Daily Wire — founded with $4.7 million of fracking magnate and co-owner Farris Wilks’ money — would be the top result for those searches.

The report shows that yet again, Google’s October 2021 policy announcement to prohibit ads “referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam” appears to be unenforced until researchers bring ads to the company’s attention.

“Google has rules against their search ads being used to spread disinformation,” said CCDH head Imran Ahmed. “They should be enforcing them, even against people who give them lots of money.”

The report, produced with the commercial analytics tool Semrush, found Google could have sold as much as $60 million of advertising to the Daily Wire over two years on searches for 150 climate search subjects and a range of others, from the “argument against reparations,” and “why does george soros hate america,” to “george floyd cause of death,” linking to a Daily Wire page falsely claiming Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose instead of police violence.

As reported by The Guardian:

Google sold these ads even after announcing a new policy in October 2021 prohibiting ads that promote climate crisis denial. Its CEO, Sundar Pichai, publicly stated at the time that “when people come to Google Search with questions about climate change, we’ll show authoritative information from sources like the United Nations.”

“Google’s hypocrisy knows no bounds,” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the U.S. and UK-based Center for Countering Digital Hate, which provided its research exclusively to the Guardian. “They’re actually selling the right to climate deniers to spread disinformation.”

For a deeper dive:

The Guardian

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