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Twitter Bans Climate Change Denial Ads

Twitter announces that it will prohibit advertisements that contradict the scientific consensus on climate change.

Twitter
Twitter bans ads that contradict the scientific consensus on climate change. 
Sarah Tew/CNET

Advertisers looking to use unscientific language about climate change in their postings on Twitter are about to be out of luck. The social media giant is now banning all climate change denial ads from its platform. 

In an Earth Day blog posting published on Friday, the company states that any advertisement featuring claims about climate change that contradict the scientific consensus will be deemed inappropriate and will be prohibited. 

"We believe that climate denialism shouldn't be monetized on Twitter, and that misrepresentative ads shouldn't detract from important conversations about the climate crisis," the company wrote. 

Prior to Friday, Twitter said ads denying climate change would have been rejected or halted under its inappropriate content policy, but has now formalized the process.

Twitter said that it is using authoritative sources -- such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations' body for assessing the science of human-caused climate change -- to inform their decisions. The latest IPCC report released earlier this month said the world needs to act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors in order to limit global warming to the critical temperature change of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Last year, in an attempt to help users find credible information on climate change, the company rolled out a dedicated climate change Topic, along with hubs of credible information in the Explore tab, Search, and Trends sections of the site. The release of the hubs coincided with the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. 

The news come at a time when the company is trying to avoid a taker-over by the billionaire Elon Musk. Musk has been critical of Twitter's moderation practices in the past, tweeting that platform is a "de facto town square" where "failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy." 

Such protection for free speech, under the First Amendment, applies only to the government censoring speech.

It remains unclear if his feelings pertain to paid advertisements, as well as tweets from individuals.