On The Back Burner: How Facebook’s Inaction on Misinformation is Fuelling the Climate Crisis

This report summarises all the available literature on climate misinformation on Facebook uncovering serious failings of the big tech platform.

Ahead of the international climate conference in Glasgow COP26, Stop Funding Heat published a report addressing Facebook’s lack of climate misinformation policies and the company’s failure to contain climate misinformation on its platform.

The 40-page report summarises all available literature on climate misinformation on Facebook, highlighting policy gaps, problems associated with Facebook’s algorithm, and the failings of its own existing solutions in combatting the spread.

The report finds that climate change is rarely mentioned by Facebook publicly and is not mentioned in any of its misinformation documentation, despite other important themes like political misinformation, public health misinformation and hate speech all being referenced.

Furthermore, the report uncovers Facebook’s systemic problem of implementing its own solutions effectively and consistently – its Third-Party Fact-Checking Program checks only around six climate misinformation pieces a month.

Additionally, Facebook’s main solution to tackle climate misinformation – the Climate Science Information Center – is ineffective as its theory of change does not follow credible climate communication science.

In line with the findings, Stop Funding Heat outlines a list of policy recommendations to Facebook. These include:

  • Update policies: Add climate change specifically to Facebook’s Community Standards and Advertising Standards, and add climate change to Community Standards.
  • Open up: Share, openly and publicly, information about the extent of misinformation on its platform.
  • Stop profiting from climate misinformation campaigns: Remove all climate misinformation on its advertising platform.
  • Take action against repeat offenders: Take decisive action against the pages, profiles and groups that spread climate misinformation regularly.

Policy recommendations to Governments include:

  • Hold Facebook accountable: Ensure regulation requires large platforms like Facebook to identify, analyse and assess any significant systemic risks from the functioning of its services
  • Give regulators the power: Allow independent audits and inspections on Facebook’s algorithms.

You can read the report in full here. Please contact contact@caad.info if you have any questions or would like to connect to any of the authors of the report.