Google, Meta, Amongst Tech Giants Urged To Undertake Definition Of Local weather Disinformation And Misinformation

Climate activists brought an iceberg outside the United States Capitol to protest Facebook … [+] Role in promoting climate misinformation. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Big tech companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), Google, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Reddit have been asked to adopt a common definition of disinformation and misinformation on climate in order to crack down on content and ads that seek to undermine facts about climate change.

An open letter initiated by the Conscious Advertising Network (CAN) demands that COP26 executives and social media platforms adopt a clear, universal definition of what constitutes climate disinformation and misinformation in order to identify and combat them. It has so far garnered more than 250 signatures from individuals and brands such as Ben and Jerry’s and Virgin Media O2.

In addition to adopting a definition, the letter calls for the inclusion of “measures against climate dis / misinformation” in the outcome of the COP26 negotiations and that technology companies develop guidelines to combat climate dis / misinformation about content, algorithms and advertising in a similar manner Manner of handling matters related to Covid-19.

Google is already on board with CAN. In October, the tech giant announced a new policy banning the advertising and monetization of “content that contradicts the established scientific consensus on the existence and causes of climate change.”

The proposed definition of climate disinformation and misinformation goes even further:

“Climate disinformation and misinformation relates to fraudulent or misleading content that:

  • undermines the existence or effects of climate change, the clear human impact on climate change and the need for urgent action to do so, as set out in the scientific consensus of the IPCC and in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement;
  • misrepresents scientific data, including through omission or cherry-picking, to undermine confidence in climate science, climate-oriented institutions, experts and solutions; or
  • Incorrectly publicize that efforts to support climate goals are being supported that actually contribute to global warming or that go against the scientific consensus on mitigation or adaptation. “

Social media platforms are important sources of climate information. In the UK, a recent survey of 2,000 adults on behalf of the vegan butter brand Flora Plant Spreadable found that nearly a quarter (24%) of all citizens use Facebook to learn about climate change. This percentage is increasing among young people – over a third (37%) of 18- to 34-year-olds use Instagram as a reliable source to find out about climate change, followed by Facebook (34%), TikTok (28%) and Twitter (24%).

The CAN letter explicitly points to examples of climate misinformation on Facebook and cites a study by the Stop Funding Hate campaign group, which states that climate misinformation published on the platform “has an estimated range of 818,000 and 1.36 million daily views” Compared to the 100,000 daily visits, Facebook users are recording their visits to its Climate Science Center, which aims to provide scientifically sound information on climate change from a limited number of verified sources.

Meta, the social media giant’s new name, released a note from its VP of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg earlier this month, aiming to showcase the company’s commitment to fighting climate change. On the subject of climate misinformation, Clegg said that climate change-related content will be fact-checked by Meta’s partner fact-checkers. “When content is found to be incorrect, we reduce its distribution so fewer people see it, and we display a warning label with more context. And we impose penalties on people who repeatedly pass on false information, ”wrote Clegg. According to Facebook, 95% of the time people don’t click to view a post with a warning notice.

Critics are protesting that the company could be more transparent in verifying the facts, and misinformation activists have also called for Facebook to share its internal research into the spread of climate misinformation on the platform and enforce a ban on climate misinformation in paid advertising on the platform.

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