Facebook has been called out for its failure to combat climate misinformation in a new report, the latest in a series of scandals for the social media giant. Released by climate campaign Stop Funding Heat, the report details Facebook’s “growing friendship” with climate misinformation, which is garnering as many as 1.36 million views daily on its platform.
A new report from Stop Funding Heat has exposed Facebook’s “growing friendship” with climate misinformation. Drawing on tools from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and CASM Technology to analyse how much climate disinformation is circulating on the platform, as well as how the social media giant continues to directly profit from advertising that contains inaccurate or sensationalist content about climate change.
Climate misinformation is ‘rampant’ on Facebook
According to the data, climate misinformation is so “rampant” that it attracts anywhere between 818,000 and 1.36 million views daily, across more than 48,700 posts and 195 pages and groups.
These figures are more than 13-fold the number of views that Facebook claims it is sending to its Climate Science Center. Out of the misinformation identified by Stop Funding Heat, only 3.6% was fact-checked.
The report also found that climate misinformation was on the uptrend, with reactions, comments and shares per post containing misleading information about climate change increasing by 76.7% since the beginning of the year.
Stop Funding Heat’s newly published data is the second in a series of reviews the organisation has conducted over Facebook’s climate misinformation problem. In May, the campaign released an analysis exposing the platform’s loopholes in misinformation policies.
Facebook not taking action
In addition to revealing the extent of misinformation about climate change, the latest report also calls out Facebook for failing to take action to combat the problem.
Between January and October 2021, 113 advertisements on Facebook’s Ad Library were classified as climate misinformation. 78% of these ads came from 7 pages that had already been flagged one year ago by Stop Funding Heat, yet Facebook has not taken any action.
“Facebook continues to directly receive thousands of dollars while placing climate misinformation on its advertising platform. This issue, in particular, has an easy fix, was raised over a year ago, and yet nothing has been done,” says the report. “Anyone could start a Facebook Page and start paying to spread lies about the climate overnight without intervention from the platform.”
Stop Funding Heat says that Facebook must live up to its sustainability promises and tackle misleading information on its platform. It calls on the social media giant to take three steps, including adopting a public definition of climate misinformation, enforcing its misinformation policies, and to be transparent about its progress on the issue.
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