A study by the activist group Avaaz found that companies are funding climate misinformation through YouTube ads. 100 brands that run advertisements on the video platform were running ads before and during videos that promote climate misinformation.

Companies included on the list include Samsung and L’Oreal. The companies were unaware of the videos attached to their ads. Avaaz looked at videos pushed during searches of “climate change,” “global warming” and “climate manipulation.” YouTube’s algorithms led to misinformation in 16 of the top 100 videos.


Avaaz argues that YouTube, ” has not acted with equal force against broader misinformation and disinformation content, including climate misinformation,” as it has toward conspiracy theories or anti-vaccine videos. As part of the findings, the group pushed YouTube to develop policies to prevent climate misinformation from spreading.

YouTube commented on the report, ” 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. YouTube has strict ad policies that govern where ads are allowed to appear and we give advertisers tools to opt out of content that doesn’t align with their brand. We’ve also significantly invested in reducing recommendations of borderline content and harmful misinformation, and raising up authoritative voices on YouTube.”

According to the Guardian, L’Oreal said that the company would be “collaborating” with Youtube to inform users about the nature of videos and advertise on content that fits the brand’s environmental commitments.

Avaaz’s report cited research that people spend a billion hours on Youtube around the world and that 2 billion people actively use the platform. The report also found that climate misinformation videos had 21.1 million views.


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