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Climate activists display a burning Facebook logo in a melting block of ice

Activists display a 5,000-lb ice sculpture with an embedded Facebook logo in front of the U.S. Capitol on November 4, 2021. (Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Climate Coalition Pushes Social Media CEOs to End Planet-Killing Disinformation

"Platforms owe it to their users and the planet to stop amplifying the climate disinformation that undermines our ability to combat the climate crisis."

Jake Johnson

A coalition of more than a dozen environmental and tech organizations demanded Tuesday that Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other social media giants take immediate steps to combat the flood of climate disinformation on their platforms, warning the proliferation of such lies "undermines governments' ability to efficiently and effectively respond" to the global emergency.

In a letter to the CEOs of Facebook, TikTok, Google, Twitter, and Pinterest, 14 climate groups noted that the esteemed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has "named climate disinformation as a threat to the world's ability to effectively address" the planetary crisis, which is fueling deadly extreme weather events across the globe.

"Social media companies bear responsibility for their role in amplifying and perpetuating climate disinformation."

Arguing that "social media companies bear responsibility for their role in amplifying and perpetuating climate disinformation," the letter calls on social media executives to "fulfill obligations set forth in" the European Union's recently approved Digital Services Act, a law aimed at reining in Big Tech's power and requiring social media platforms to mitigate the spread of disinformation.

Signed by 350.org, Accountable Tech, Friends of the Earth, and other prominent environmental groups, the new letter urges social media CEOs to "commit to including climate disinformation as a separately-acknowledged category in its reporting and content moderation policies in and outside of the E.U."

"More specifically," the letter continues, "we urge platforms to commit to recognizing climate disinformation as a specific reason within the statement required under DSA Article 15(1), and include data on content moderation decisions related to climate disinformation as stated under Article 23."

The letter was sent a month ahead of the COP27 climate talks in Egypt, a summit sponsored by leading plastic polluter Coca-Cola.

The role that social media giants and advertising firms have played in the dissemination of climate falsehoods has received growing attention on an international stage in recent weeks as research shows Facebook and other platforms are badly failing to live up to even their own limited content policies.

"Platforms owe it to their users and the planet to stop amplifying the climate disinformation that undermines our ability to combat the climate crisis," the coalition wrote in its letter Tuesday.


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