New Facebook study: 99 percent of climate disinformation goes unchecked

WASHINGTON – As Facebook today released new climate change disinformation initiatives, new analysis by Friends of the Earth uses Facebook data to show that their approach misses the point, and will still likely miss the vast majority of disinformation.

The new analysis of the February 2021 power outages in Texas, linked here, shows that despite Facebook and other platforms’ fact-checking policies at the time, only 0.9% percent of interactions with content promoting the falsehood that wind turbines were at fault for the power outages carried fact-checking labels.

“Facebook’s actions are far too little, far too late,” said Michael Khoo, Friends of the Earth co-chair of the Climate Disinformation Coalition. “Facebook knows the super-spreaders of climate disinformation and should put an end to their repetitive lies. We cannot solve social media disinformation by playing an endless game of whack-a-mole with known liars.”

The analysis by Friends of the Earth examined posts containing a false narrative that the February Texas blackouts were caused by failed wind turbines. The report shows how climate disinformation that starts at the fringe of social media platforms can quickly impact national climate policy. Though the windmill claim was debunked on local and major news outlets, the falsehoods became talking points for prominent politicians within 4 days.

“This data shows that Facebook and other tech platforms must take far stronger action to limit the super-spreaders, and not put the burden on ordinary users,” said Khoo. “As mainstream news outlets strengthen their approach to disinformation, Facebook is becoming the last bastion of climate denial. This doesn’t need to be the case. Solving climate change is difficult but solving climate disinformation is simple: turn it off.”

“For a company that makes $85BN a year, a $1M program that outsources the problem they’ve created, shows that Facebook is not serious about solving climate disinformation. Facebook is essentially setting up an unequal competition—the disinformation it allows vs the disinformation it’s supposedly working against—and entirely stacking the deck against the latter.”

Truth and Lies: 4 days of Texas-Sized Disinformation: 

https://1bps6437gg8c169i0y1drtgz-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Texas_Disinfo_Report_final_v4.pdf 

Press inquiries: Brittany Miller, 202-222-0746, [email protected] 

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