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August 15th, 2020

Remove climate misinformation from social media platforms

topic:Climate action
type:Campaign, Project
by:Yair Oded

Recent leaks reveal that social media giants including Facebook and Twitter have been abetting a misinformation campaign about the dangers of the climate crisis by allowing climate denying posts and tweets to slip through their fact-checking mechanisms. 

A newly launched “Misinformation Brigade” is now looking to exert public pressure on these giants to reverse their course of action and extinguish climate denial content from their platforms.

Back in 2019, Facebook had recruited a team of climate scientists whose job was to sift through viral content concerning climate change and assess its accuracy. But, as reported by EDF Action, the advocacy partner of the Environmental Defense Fund, after an organisation with ties to fossil fuel companies intervened and expressed its displeasure, Facebook instructed its staffers to override the climate scientists’ recommendations, claiming that climate denying posts are “opinions” and as such aren’t eligible for fact-checking. 

EDF Action has indicated that Twitter, too, has been complicit in allowing the flux of climate disinformation to run uninhibited. After President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, Twitter was inundated with climate change-related content. According to analysis by Brown University, 1 in 4 of these tweets originated from a bot, and only 5 per cent of them were pro-climate action. 

In an attempt to stanch the flow of climate denial on social media platforms, EDF Action has launched the Misinformation Brigade - an initiative seeking to keep the public informed about instances of climate misinformation and galvanise them to pressure social media companies to take action to remove such content. 

Those who sign up will “get instant alerts when climate denial is circulating — along with clear instructions to flood social networks with reports rightfully declaring it fake news,” the campaign states. 

Click here to join the ranks of the Misinformation Brigade. 

Image: Paul Clarke

act.edfaction.org