This article is part of Covering Climate Now. Covering Climate Now Columbia Journalism Review When The Nation Strengthen coverage of climate stories.
T.Next time you use Twitter, search for “climate”. What do you expect from the top results? Content about climate change? Last year, at the year’s most important climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, #ClimateScam got instead. And it stayed that way for months. Twitter does not justify actively advocating climate change denial.
This and many other findings were discovered by the COP27 Intelligence Unit, made up of analysts from over 10 members of the Climate Action Coalition Against Disinformation. The unit tracked the most prominent misinformation and disinformation stories perpetuated during the conference. In January, they published a report, Deny, Deceive, Delay, detailing their findings.
Many of the high-profile posts uncovered by the unit confirm a recent Ipsos study commissioned by French energy giant EDF, documenting a growing trend of skepticism and denial about the climate crisis. It has been. At COP27, denial mixed with conspiracy as professional disinformation agents linked climate change policy to an imaginary conspiracy to impose totalitarian control of the World Economic Forum and the global elite. Such falsehoods got a lot of attention on his Twitter, and the post received tens of thousands of posts. Like When RetweetElon Musk’s decision to remove many of Twitter’s content moderation barriers helped millions of users forestall climate change denial. However, the report also found that hashtags pro-climate tend to be weighted more heavily than hashtags related to climate denial, with #ClimateScam appearing at the top of users’ search feeds. That’s even more confusing. Perhaps Musk can release the data to explain why #ClimateScam has been pushed to the top.
This report outlines several other stories across the disinformation landscape.An earlier reveal photo of the private jet used in the conference spread on twitter, create a topic to distract you from the meeting.right-wing voices, including Mike Pompeo When Senator John Kennedy (R-ra) Framed A potential “loss and damage” mechanism as “climate compensation” or a means of unfairly punishing more developed countries by giving up wealth to poorer “less worthy” countries. unreliable claims It was also circulated about the unreliability of green technologies in favor of more “reliable” energy sources such as coal and oil. You should be at the forefront of information-related content moderation.
Finally, the University of Exeter, part of the Coalition, analyzed Meta’s ad library and found that over 3,700 ads related to fossil fuel entities were active from September to November 2022, with Facebook and We found that about $3 million to $4 million was spent on Instagram on average. time. These ads practiced what was called a “nature rinse,” a greenwashing technique that uses nature-related imagery to increase the “greenness” of certain brands. Advertisements also used the term “energy independence,” often used by major oil companies and their advocates, to mislead viewers about the dangers of the fossil fuel industry by exaggerating the benefits of expanding fossil fuel use. ” emphasized.
Solving this problem requires the same kind of basic rules as most American businesses. Transparency When accountabilityBig Tech should expose and scrutinize their algorithms to assess whether and how they manipulate their systems. This is a strategy endorsed by President Joe Biden as a viable bipartisan effort. Technology companies should also disclose data related to the spread of disinformation on their platforms. This allows analysts to effectively map trends in false and misleading content. Companies should also publish data about their misinformation policies, such as labeling and fact-checking. Big techs also need to strengthen the policies they already have in place. The traditional 3-strike system, which holds repeat offenders accountable, is a good place to start. Finally, platforms should adopt a standardized definition of climate disinformation to inform their content management policies, as Pinterest has done. These policy solutions build trust between businesses and the public in their efforts to track and mitigate misinformation and disinformation.
At a deeper level, disinformation monetization, a dark new industry estimated at over $2.5 billion annually, must stop, according to recent reports from NewsGuard and Comscore. Much of this is driven by Google and the ad tech industry, which funds the darkest corners of the internet. Social media companies and publishers must stop allowing climate change denial to profit. Mr. Musk and others have opposed the measures, claiming they would interfere with free speech, but the belief is that Mr. Musk will use his powers to silence those who criticize him. We need a level playing field so everyone can be heard, not just radical minorities.
Governments and multilateral institutions can also play an important role in these platforms. For example, as with all American products, from aircraft to ziplines, you can request a basic report on the damage caused. In the event of a crash, hand over the black box to us and pay the damages. The EU’s Digital Services Act is a solid example of a law that, if implemented correctly, will reduce the spread of disinformation and better protect users. It includes transparency and accountability mechanisms that require reporting of product hazards and severe penalties for companies that do not comply. This represents his 6% of global business. The United States has equivalent legislation in its Digital Surveillance and Safety Act, but there is still a way to go.
Climate change is an overwhelming crisis with complex and multifaceted solutions. The spread of climate disinformation doesn’t have to be. A human wrote the code that amplified this erroneous content, and a human can fix it.