Facebook, long targeted by critics for allowing misinformation about global warming and other environmental developments to populate unchecked users’ social media feeds, has announced that it will launch a new information hub to provide information. “Scientific information” on climate change.
“Climate change is real. The science is unambiguous and the need to act is becoming more and more urgent every day ”, the company FB,
said in a statement announcing the hub’s deployment on Tuesday after months of heightened questioning of climate change denial messages it is allowing on the site under the guise of allowing editorials.
It’s a change in stance from a social media giant who, as recently as August, offered to push back most Democratic lawmakers seeking more action in the name of truthful news.
“We have asked Facebook executives to fill in the gaps that allow climate misinformation to spread across their platforms,” Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tom Carper, Sheldon Whitehouse and Brian Schatz said in a statement last month. “Their answer: we must trust them to develop and follow their own rules and procedures, even if this results in the distortion of the facts and the mass dissemination of lies. The future of our planet is at stake, and there should be no business too big, too powerful, and too opaque to be held accountable for its role in the climate crisis. Facebook is no exception. ”
Last year, Facebook deleted a “bogus” note from an editorial published by the Washington Examiner that cast doubt on the accuracy of climate change models. Initially, Facebook’s independent fact-checker flagged the article as “very misleading,” based on what it said was the inclusion of inaccurate information and hand-picked data. But a nonprofit known as the CO2 Coalition, created by former Donald Trump adviser William Happer, protested the rating and Facebook capitulated, dropping the warning and allowing the posting under a loophole. of opinion ”. This labeling policy had always existed, Facebook pointed out at the time.
In addition to the clearinghouse, Facebook said it would continue to reduce the distribution of posts containing false information on its News Feed feature and tag those posts as bogus. Facebook, however, says it won’t remove the posts, nor was it immediately clear how the company will deal with posts in private groups believed to contain information inconsistent with what is growing. current adoption of science still evolving around man. acceleration of climate change.
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Facebook has set its own goal, similar to those of many tech giants, of achieving net zero carbon emissions and being fully supported by renewables in its own operations.
The climate change milestones follow similar steps for the company regarding information sharing on COVID-19 and voting in a presidential election year. So far, Facebook says more than 2 billion people have been referred to resources from health authorities by its response to COVID-19.
Facebook shares have increased by almost 33% so far in 2020. The S&P 500 SPX,
is up about 5.7% on the same section.