For years now, people have been pointing out that PragerU is turning funding from fracking billionaires into Christofascist propaganda and climate disinformation on social media.
For years now, Facebook has been waffling on the problem, pretending to act but not really doing much because it's helmed by Republican election-stealing climate denier Joel Kaplan.
And for years now, researchers have pointed out that PragerU spends those frackbucks on Facebook advertisements to boost its reach and artificially inflate its views.
But all that only seems to have encouraged Texas (and Florida and Oklahoma) to (maybe) approve PragerU content for use in schools, despite the fact that it is factually wrong and "insanely racist."
Apparently, though, that's fine for advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Media Matters for America recently found "Meta is allowing PragerU Kids — which misleadingly promotes right-wing propaganda as educational materials for children — to circumvent its advertising policies and run ads related to 'social issues, elections or politics' without the required transparency."
Media Matters "identified dozens of these ads that ran on Meta's platforms since July 11 and promoted content that right-wing organization PragerU claims provides 'the solution to woke education' by protecting kids from 'radical ideas about gender, race, and anti-Americanism.'"
Where's PragerU getting the money to run these ads? Well, fracking billionaires and Christian anti-LGBTQ+ extremists Dan and Farris Wilks have given "at least $8m to PragerU," Peter Stone reported for The Guardian this week. Texas campaign finance analyst Chris Tackett told Stone that their agenda was "to advance a dominionist ideology by funding far-right organizations and politicians that seek to dismiss climate change as ‘God’s will’, remove choice, demonize the LGBTQ community, and tear down public education, all to turn America into a country that gives preference to and imposes their extreme beliefs on everyone.”
Funding for PragerU isn't limited to the $8 million from the Wilks though, as Stone reported in a second story for The Guardian. According to tax disclosures, "PragerU has flourished financially in recent years as the Prager University Foundation raised $196m from 2018 thru 2022. That growth is underscored by revenues rising from $17.9m in 2018 to $65.1m in 2022."
But it's not just PragerU that’s pushing right-wing propaganda using fossil fuel industry funding! One of Farris Wilks' other major investments is The Daily Wire, and its biggest digital draw, Jordan Peterson, is generating millions of views for climate deniers, Geoff Dembicki reported for DeSmog on Tuesday. Just five figures, "Judith Curry, Steven Koonin, Richard Lindzen, Alex Epstein and Bjorn Lomborg," who have little to no YouTube audience themselves, "have collectively garnered nearly five million views" on Peterson’s channel.
The success of PragerU and The Daily Wire in promoting propaganda on compliant social media websites seems to have inspired monied interests in the UK as well, as Peterson has been tapped for the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC), a new lobby group that "appears to be the latest attempt by national populist forces to shape culture and politics," Adam Barnett and Joey Grostern reported for DeSmog.
"Peterson is joined on the ARC advisory board," they write, "by Tony Abbott, a director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) the UK’s principal climate science denial group, the writers Bjorn Lomborg and Michael Shellenberger, both of whom have written books downplaying the threats posed by climate change, and Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy, who recently claimed that the green agenda is a 'hoax'."
Behind ARC? The same Dubai-based investment firm, the Legatum Group, which owns disinfo-spreading GB News.
Since the popularization of mainstream media fact checks, it's become difficult for deniers to get on air. Instead of being more honest, they're unfortunately just getting more money to spread disinfo on social media. And companies like Facebook and Google appear all too happy to take their money and help them pollute their platforms with propaganda.