Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), who heads the House Committee on Climate Change, was criticized Wednesday, Jan. 29, for sending a petition to Google asking it to censor videos denying the effects of climate change and “climate misinformation.”
As the Washington Times points out, in a letter to CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday, Castor argued that YouTube’s recommendation algorithm should eliminate videos on climate disinformation and also demonetize those videos that promote “damaging disinformation.”
The request was written after information was released by the progressive climate change activist group known as Avaaz, suggesting that there were several examples where the YouTube algorithm was promoting videos about climate denial.
Avaaz criticized climate change deniers, citing in his report the arguments of scientist Patrick Michaels who worked as a senior researcher in environmental studies at the Cato Institute until 2019, and argued why 31 of the 32 climate models are actually “rigged.”
Michaels went so far as to assert, based on data provided by the U.N.’s intergovernmental panel on climate change, that only half of global warming could be caused by human activity, indicating that conditions in temperature showed significant variation in a post 1950 era.
Michaels’s conclusions were also rejected in September 2019 when Facebook labeled arguments he made with another scientist in a Washington Examiner editorial as false, which were later dropped when Michaels sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to CDN.
Similarly, Google has repeatedly shown its determination to defend progressive ideas and censor those that distance themselves from singleminded left-wing thinking, such as when it canceled hundreds of ads related to this year’s Donald Trump presidential campaign.
Although YouTube’s management has stated that the parameters for censoring content on the platform are based on distinguishing those videos that propagate hatred and discrimination, the company’s policies are still confusing since they usually censor conservative content in general.
Meanwhile, climate change skeptics were outraged at the efforts of Democratic lawmakers to censor alternative content.
“Instead of engaging in open debate with climate skeptics, Rep. Castor just wants to shut us up. I can only imagine what her side would do to us if they had real power,” said JunkScience founder Steve Milloy.
“Sadly, I expect YouTube to cave and continue its policies of clamping down on climate skeptics and those who oppose so-called solutions like the Green New Deal or U.N. Paris climate pact,” he added.
Commenting on Castor’s request, Media Research Center (MRCTV) columnist P. Gardner Goldsmith said, “What’s ‘shocking’ is the fact that this ‘report’ Ms. Castor mentions comes from the hardcore left-wing Avaaz, a global nonprofit dedicated to—among a few collectivist causes—pushing the Anthropogenic Climate Change theory, and which works very closely with left-leaning politicians worldwide to sell the myth.”
“What’s shocking is that Ms. Castor never bothers to mention that Google has already been accused by whistleblower Zach Vorhees of putting web sources that don’t agree with the climate change narrative on a black list for suppression (MRCTV being one of them),” Goldsmith added in her opinion column.
In the letter, the Democratic lawmaker urged YouTube to review the following points:
- Stop promoting climate denial and climate disinformation videos by removing them immediately from the platforms recommended algorithm.
- Add climate misinformation to the platform list of borderline content.
- Stop monetizing videos that promote harmful misinformation and falsehoods about the causes and effects of the climate crisis.
- Take steps to correct the record for millions of viewers who have been exposed to climate misinformation on YouTube.