‘Facebook failing to flag climate change denial content’

23 February 2022, 12:04

The Facebook app on an Apple iPhone
Technology stock. Picture: PA

New research suggests the social network has failed to label posts from prominent publishers of climate change denials.

Facebook has been accused of failing to add warning labels to half of the posts from the largest publishers of climate change denial articles, with campaigners warning the social network is causing the “pollution of the information ecosystem”.

A new study by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) suggests that just over half (50.5%) of the articles posted to the platform by the 10 publishers that make up the bulk of user interactions with climate change denial content on Facebook did not carry a warning or fact-checking label.

The CCDH said the 184 articles analysed had all been published since May 2021, when Facebook announced that it would begin attaching information labels to posts about climate change that direct users to its climate science information centre, where they can find key information on the issue from authoritative sources, in an effort to help combat climate change denial on the site.

But, according to the study, the 93 articles which did not have labels had amassed more than 540,000 interactions – likes, comments and shares – on the social network.

The research focused on articles from what it calls the “toxic 10” – the 10 publishers that account for 69% of Facebook user interactions with climate change denial articles.

Facebook said it was still rolling out its labelling scheme at the time of the study and suggested this “very likely impacted results”.

Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the CCDH, said Facebook and its parent company, Meta – which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp – are “exacerbating the climate crisis” because they are “failing to do even the bare minimum to address the spread of climate denial information”.

“Meta keeps claiming it cares about climate change but they have failed to stop the spread of misinformation about climate change on their platform; they have failed even to consistently apply measures that they themselves admit are of limited efficacy, such as labelling,” he said.

“The price of Mark Zuckerberg’s failure to deal with his platforms’ pollution of the information ecosystem is catastrophic damage to our physical ecosystem, including climate change, forced migration, drought and famine.”

In response, a Meta company spokesman said: “We combat climate change misinformation by connecting people to reliable information in many languages from leading organisations through our Climate Science Centre and working with a global network of independent fact-checkers to review and rate content.

“When they rate this content as false, we add a warning label and reduce its distribution so fewer people see it.

“During the timeframe of this report, we hadn’t completely rolled out our labelling programme, which very likely impacted the results.”

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

Glastonbury Festival 2022

Glastonbury 2022 broke data records, EE says

A child using a laptop computer

Pupils ‘AirDrop nudes in maths and use Google Drive to store images’, MPs told

Over 20 million US dollars were raised by the public for drones to fight the Russian invasion

Tech company to gift Bayraktar drones to Ukraine after millions raised by public

A mixed reality holographic patient

UK medical students training on hologram patients in world-first


Warning new internet laws will hand ministers ‘unprecedented’ powers

A battery changing station of Nio brand electrical car (Alamy)

Two dead after Nio electric car they were testing ‘falls from building’

Alexa to expand

Amazon’s Alexa could mimic the voices of dead relatives

Ai-Da at work

Robot painting Glastonbury’s famous faces says festival atmosphere is ‘electric’

Instagram's new age verification tools, which have started being testing in the US

Instagram begins testing new age verification tools

A security surveillance camera is seen near the Microsoft office building in Beijing

Microsoft: Russian cyber spying targets 42 Ukraine allies

Social media apps on a smartphone

Meta removes ‘large numbers’ of upskirting images found on Facebook

Rio Ferdinand poses for photographs with children at 10 Downing Street to celebrate the launch of the Diana Award’s annual anti-bullying campaign Don’t Face It Alone (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Rio Ferdinand calls for new ‘inspiring’ online platform to combat child bullying

A screenshot of the Microsoft Outlook email service

Microsoft’s Outlook email service hit by outage

Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s proposed £35.8bn Twitter deal gets board endorsement

Apple unveils new products

Guide Dogs launches scheme to provide free iPads to children with sight loss

A woman using a laptop

Cloudflare outage knocks hundreds of websites offline