During COP26, Facebook served ads with climate falsehoods, skepticism

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Nov 18 (Businesshala) – Facebook advertisers have promoted false and misleading claims about climate change on the platform in recent weeks, just as the COP26 conference was underway.

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Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, explained the company’s efforts to combat climate misinformation in a blog after the Glasgow summit began, after conservative media network Newsmax ran an ad on Facebook (F.B.O). What is called man-made global warming is a hoax.”

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The ad, which had several versions, garnered over 200,000 views. In another, conservative commentator Candace Owens said “apparently we must trust our new authoritarian government” on climate science, while a US liberal think-tank ran an ad about how “modern doomsers” misjudge climate. Decades were predicting the crisis.

Newsmax, Owens and the Daily Wire, which paid for advertising from Owens’ page, did not respond to requests for comment.

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Facebook, which recently changed its name to Meta, has no specific policy on climate misinformation in ads or unpaid posts. Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google said last month that it would no longer allow ads that contradict the scientific consensus on climate change on YouTube and its other services, though it would allow content discussing false claims .

Facebook typically doesn’t remove misinformation in posts unless it determines they cause imminent harm to the real world, as it did for lies around COVID-19. The company says it removes posts that are ranked as false by its third-party fact-checkers (of which Businesshala is one) and prohibits ads containing these debunked claims. It added that advertisers who repeatedly post false information could face restrictions on their ability to advertise on Facebook. It exempts advertisements of politicians from fact-checking.

When asked about ads promoting climate-related misinformation, a company spokesperson said in a statement: “While such ads run on multiple platforms, Facebook will be available to the public in our ad library for seven years. Provides an additional layer of transparency by requiring post-publication.”

The UK-based think-tank Influence Map, which identified deceptive Facebook ads run by multiple media outlets and think-tanks around COP26, also found that fossil fuel companies and lobbying groups raised concerns about political and social issues on Facebook during the summit. Spent $574,000 on ads, resulting in more than 22 million impressions and containing content that Influence Map described as “greenwashing” promoting their environmental efforts.

An ad paid for by the American Petroleum Institute banned the natural landscape because it touted its efforts to combat climate change, while BP America posted a paper detailing its support for climate-friendly policies in Neon Green Writing. Advertised.

“Our social media posts represent a tiny fraction compared to the strong investments our companies make every day,” API said in a statement. The natural gas and oil industry was committed to reducing emissions. BP said in a statement that it was “actively advocating for policies that support net zero, including carbon pricing, through a range of transparent channels, including social media advertising.”

Facebook has started adding informational labels to posts about climate change directing users to its Climate Science Center, a new center with facts and quizzes that it says is visited by more than 100,000 people a day. .

But asked in an interview aired this week Businesshala Responsible Business USA 2021 In the event where he thought Facebook was still short on climate issues, Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said, “Obviously, there are concerns about people sharing misinformation about climate on Facebook.”

“I’m not going to say we have it right any time soon,” he said. “We constantly reevaluate what the state of the world is and what our role is, starting with trying to allow people free expression, and then intervening when there is harm that we can prevent. Huh.”

He didn’t directly answer why Facebook didn’t ban all climate misinformation ads, but said it “didn’t want people to take advantage of misinformation.”

employee query policy

The company’s attitude toward climate misinformation and skepticism has caused employee debate. Discussions on its internal message board show employees how it should handle climate misinformation and flagging examples of it on the forum, such as in a January post where an employee said when he discovered climate change So they got “major consequences of obvious misinformation”. Your video in the ‘Watch’ section.

These documents were among the disclosures made before the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress by whistleblower Frances Haugen, former product manager of Facebook, which moved in May. Businesshala was one of a group of news organizations that was able to see the documents.

In comments to an April post highlighting Facebook’s commitment to reducing its own environmental impact, which includes reaching net zero emissions for its global operations last year, a staff member asked whether the company would Climate can begin to classify and remove misinformation and hoaxes from platforms.

Two outside researchers working with Facebook on its climate change efforts told Businesshala they want to see the company deal with climate misinformation with the same proactiveness it has for COVID-19, which Facebook has cracked during the pandemic. did.

“It needs to be addressed with the same level of urgency,” said John Cook, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Climate Change Communication Research Hub at Monash University, who is advising Facebook on its climate misinformation work. “It’s arguably more dangerous.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Kenneth Lee and Nick Ziminsky

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