Facebook Misinformation on Climate Change Surges During COP26

Facebook keeps coming under fire for the spread of misinformation. 

The latest issue over which misinformation is being spread across the social media platform? Climate change.

Facebook advertisers are being accused of promoting completely false as well as directly misleading claims about climate change over the past few weeks, coinciding with the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26. 

The platform’s vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg claimed the company was taking efforts specifically to combat climate change and global warming misinformation. Clegg posted this in a blog post as COP26 began in Glasgow at the beginning of November. 

Shortly after, the rightwing conservative media outlet Newsmax ran an advertisement on the site that called global warming a “hoax,” which scientists and experts have shown is blatantly untrue. The ad was posted in several versions and had more than 200,000 views. 

Newsmax was not alone in spreading misinformation through ads. Rightwing commentator Candace Owens, who frequently comes under fire for bizarre and hypocritical takes on global issues, lashed out at the U.S. government for climate science, calling them “authoritarian” and casting doubt as to why the public should believe them on global warming. Her take was paid for by Newsmax and the Daily Wire and posted directly on Owen’s Facebook page. 

A U.S. libertarian think-tank ran an advertisement that pointed at “modern doomsayers” and claimed they had been wrong about climate change for decades, which is also factually incorrect. 

In addition to politically motivated advertisements meant to cause misinformation about climate change, there were also advertisements by fossil fuel companies meant to “greenwash” the companies. Researchers found that lobbying groups and fossil fuel companies spent more than half a million dollars on political and social issue ads during COP26, which garnered more than 22 million impressions. The content promoted companies’ environmental efforts, with an obvious neglect to speak of any damage their companies did to the environment. 

The American Petroleum Institute claimed it tackles climate change, and BP America discussed its support for climate-friendly policies, as examples. 

The latest accusation of misinformation comes following reports that Facebook fails to check hate speech and fake news. Reports have said that misinformation on the site spreads faster and further than actual, factual news. 

The company has been in the hot seat lately following multiple whistle-blower reports. 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.