The climate denial accountability group Stop Funding Heat released a new report last week finding, despite Facebook’s public proclamations about how much it cares about climate change, the platform is not only letting climate denial thrive, but is still profiting off of it.
While the company does have a Climate Science Information Center and uses a fact-checking program, the report shows how those fundamentally fail to address the website’s problem with climate denial. What’s worse, the company’s Community Standards, the rules about what people can post, what gets banned or what gets investigated, does not even consider climate denial — a threat to the habitability of this planet — worth a mention. Similarly silent on climate is the company’s Oversight Board, Advertising Standards, and fact-checking program.
The company’s lack of prioritization of climate denial shows. It’s rife on the platform, as the report shows in summarizing a number of existing reports. Big Oil ads are all over the website, promoting their sophisticated denial and predatory delay messaging, and the website has been caught over and over again doing next to nothing about the (disproportionately right-wing) misinformation that proliferates on its pages, and carving out massive loopholes for deniers that do get caught by the fact-check program.
So what’s to be done? Facebook says it cares about climate change, but it clearly doesn’t care enough to stop profiting off of polluters’ ads, to address climate lies in its policies like it does other types of unwelcome content, share data transparently with researchers studying the issue, or most importantly, simply ban repeat offenders.
The organized climate denial network exists to lie to the public about climate change. Why is Facebook letting itself be a tool used directly in opposition to its own stated values?