Facebook said it would begin displaying misinformation about the climate crisis in small trials confined to the UK.
Certain posts are labeled that direct users to the Facebook Climate Science Information Center, a repository of fact-checking claims about the environment.
The company has not yet revealed how to determine which posts will receive a label, but it is similar to the process used in the US elections when attempting to algorithmically identify posts that share common myths or misconceptions, and direct users to the Voting Information Center.
A new section of the Climate Science Information Center, which begins with labeling tests, uncovers common myths such as false claims that polar bear populations do not suffer from global warming, or broad belief that excessive carbon emissions are beneficial to plant life. Facebook works with climate communications experts from around the world, including the University of Cambridge to create content.
Dr. Sander van der Linden, a Cambridge scholar who has worked with Facebook at the center, said: The spread of damaging falsehoods jeopardizes the level of international cooperation needed to combat catastrophic global warming. Facebook is in a unique position to respond to the dissemination of misinformation online, and the new section on destroying climate myths is a critical step towards uncovering dangerous falsehoods.
This project is a rare attempt by Facebook to directly combat misinformation on the platform. In general, companies deal with issues through an indefinite partnership with third-party fact checkers such as UKs Full Fact, who are empowered to mark claims as true or false, which suppresses sharing on the Facebook platform.
Along with climate science labeling, Facebook is virtually reversing the stance cited in 2019, spreading climate falsehoods by overturning third-party fact checks that falsely flagged a piece of public opinion. Facebook’s policy exempted comment articles from fact-checking, which criticized Elizabeth Warren and other US senators in 2020.
Senators at the time wrote that the climate crisis was so important that it did not allow blatant lies to spread on social media without consequences. Without action to address the crisis, the risk of climate change will continue to rise in political and financial systems around the world.
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