The latest bulletin from the Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD) coalition came out yesterday, documenting how the years-long campaign to reframe climate activism as radical eco-terrorism is fostering violence — and how Big Tech platforms are allowing the glorification of that violence.
Here are some excerpts:
“On X (formerly Twitter), over 220,000 posts were found to include loaded language such as ‘climate cult’ (>65k posts alone) and over 90,000 posts and replies contained securitised language such as ‘eco terrorist’ (>34k posts alone) between 1 January 2022 and 30 November 2023.”
“On Facebook and Instagram, over 68k posts were found to contain denigrating language such as ‘climate lunatic’, ‘eco extremist’, ‘green zealot’ or ‘Net Zero terrorist’ in the same period, from more than 35k unique accounts. This content was shared a cumulative 1.86 million times across the two platforms.”
“On TikTok, the platform’s comparatively strict content moderation has created a culture of coded violence that uses dog whistles and irony to evade detection. Even when original TikTok content was ‘neutral’ towards climate activists, violent rhetoric often emerged in the comments.”
The bulletin also includes a case study on the recent Panama shooting of two teachers' union members who were participating in a public protest against a mine that was subsequently declared to be unconstitutional by Panama’s Supreme Court. The killings were caught on camera, and the resulting images were meme-ified by right-wing posters who glorified the violence:
“For example, right-wing pundit Ian Miles Cheong (861k followers) got 1.7 million views for tweeting a picture of the shooter captioned ‘Hero or villain?’ While replies were mixed, many commenters landed on ‘hero’ or even ‘martyr’, with some posts lionising the shooter via generative AI or turning footage of his crime into memes.”
We looked, and were unable to locate a single example in the history of humanity and written literature in which someone killing a peacefully protesting elementary school teacher is considered a “hero."
But there's plenty more in the report, so go check it out!