Friends of the Earth works to reduce the spread of disinformation that potentially affects all of our campaigns. As technology and media companies consolidate their power, our fundamental ability to campaign on any issue is threatened, as corporate polluters gain more control over the basic communications systems that are needed for social change and democracy itself.
Our program has been in development since 2018, when we brought together the U.S. environmental community to look at the broad threats of new communications technologies–from disinformation to surveillance, from deep-fakes to algorithmic discrimination. We pressure companies and Congress to reduce disinformation and ensure that the free speech of individuals is not limited by corporate actors, foreign influence, or coordinated radical networks like QAnon. While we are focused currently on climate change disinformation perpetuated by fossil fuel companies and their inauthentic networks, our work will continue to center the voices and experiences of people who are affected by multiple types of corporate and technological control.
Our program has been deliberately intersectional from the outset, realizing that many of the same organizations and people online that deny climate change, also deny rights for women, discriminate against people of color, limit voter access, and question public health science. Our coalition has co-developed cross-issue networks with Change The Terms, a coalition that has pressured Facebook to remove hate speech online.
The corporatization and centralization of our communications channels is a threat to American and progressive values, and can only be effectively fought if we stand in unity with other movements.
QAnon, where researchers have noted an accelerated increase in membership throughout the pandemic, has become a mega-conspiracy, absorbing multiple political and cultural online conversations in the process.
Facebook provides a loophole for climate change deniers by often exempting opinion pieces from its fact-checking program.
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.
Twitter has taken a positive step which shows it is possible to have online conversations about science that don’t include climate denial.
Social media, and the world itself, have been better off with Trump gone. Facebook should make the deplatforming of Trump permanent.