In an era where climate change poses a growing threat to our planet, the battle against misinformation has never been more crucial. A recent report released by the Climate Action Against Disinformation Coalition paints a concerning picture of social media’s role in perpetuating climate denial and greenwashing. The report evaluates major platforms such as Twitter/X, YouTube, Meta, and others on various parameters, and the results are far from reassuring.
Released during New York City’s Climate Week, this report highlights the urgent need for social media companies to take action against climate misinformation. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has aptly pointed out that Big Tech’s business model, which often “monetizes anger and negativity,” is undermining efforts to combat climate change.
The report’s findings reveal a stark reality:
- Pinterest emerges as the best-performing platform, scoring highest for its policies to mitigate the spread of climate misinformation. However, there is still room for improvement.
- YouTube, Meta (formerly Facebook), and TikTok have made commitments to address climate misinformation, but their enforcement of these policies is lacking.
- Twitter/X is the worst performer, receiving only one point. It lacks clear policies addressing climate misinformation, offers no substantive public transparency mechanisms, and provides no evidence of effective policy enforcement.
- All platforms fall short in providing algorithmic reporting, and four out of five platforms lack reporting on misinformation trends.
- There is no available data to suggest that platforms are effectively enforcing existing climate misinformation policies.
- Most platforms lack policies to address greenwashing, a practice that falsely portrays a company or product as environmentally friendly.
The report serves as a wake-up call, not only for these platforms but also for regulators and society as a whole. Climate change is an existential threat, and addressing misinformation and greenwashing is a critical step towards averting catastrophe. It is high time for social media giants to step up and prioritise the battle against climate mis and dis-information.