Twitter has announced it will no longer allow advertisers on the site that deny climate change.
In a statement released on Friday and reported by AP and other news sources, Twitter said: “Ads shouldn’t detract from important conversations about the climate crisis.” In 2021, Twitter began featuring a dedicated Climate Topic on its site and offered what it called “pre-bunks” during last year’s United Nations COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, to counter a predicted avalanche of misinformation expected to arise on social media surrounding the conference.
The new policy follows a similar ban announced in October by Google, which said in a statement that it would no longer display advertisements on YouTube videos and other content that promote information “contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.”
The statement did not contain any information suggesting that the new policy would effect what Twitter users are allowed to post on the site. Twitter policy already states that users may not post “violent, hateful, or adult content within areas that are highly visible on Twitter, including in live video, profile, header, or List banner images” unless the account doing the posting has been marked “sensitive,” which places images and videos behind a warning message that must be acknowledged before the media can be viewed.
In January, Twitter also introduced new privacy settings that allow users to limit data-sharing with advertisers.
This news comes at the same time the European Union (EU) announced that it has adopted the Digital Services Act, an agreement requiring big companies — including Google and Facebook parent Meta — to police their platform in order to protect European users from hate speech, disinformation and other harmful online content. The law will also call for tech companies to make it easier for users to flag problems, ban online ads aimed at children. The legislation also will empower regulators to punish noncompliance with significant fines.
“With the DSA, the time of big online platforms behaving like they are ‘too big to care’ is coming to an end,” EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told AP.
Tesla founder Elon Musk has recently offered $46.5 billion to buy Twitter precisely to do away with such content controls. He has said he believes the platform fails at upholding its “free speech principles.” He has also said he wants to address Twitter’s scam bots and crypto scams, as well as an edit feature — which Twitter confirmed is coming, and that it has been working on it in the last year.