According to a recent report, popular social media platforms remain a hotbed of fake news from climate change deniers.
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In this photo illustration, social media apps can be seen on a mobile phone on July 29, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. The Turkish parliament on Wednesday passed a new law to regulate social media content. The law requires foreign social media companies to have a representative appointed in Turkey to resolve any concerns raised by authorities about the content.
The report comes from environmental groups Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace USA and Avaaz, Gizmodo wrote. Taking a closer look at the content shared on Twitter, TikTok and Facebook, they concluded that climate crisis denial is still rampant, despite these companies’ concerted efforts to fight misinformation.
According to their report, Twitter takes the crown as the absolute worst social media platform to get your information about climate change. It is followed by TikTok, Facebook and YouTube, in descending order. An exciting takeaway, however, is that Pinterest is the comparatively better choice for accurate information. However, this can simply be attributed to the platform’s purpose as an online imageboard.
Here’s a statement from Rebecca Lenn, the report’s author (which you can view in full) and a senior advisor at Avaaz, about the findings of their analysis:
“This leaves researchers, lawyers and lawmakers powerless to judge whether the social media companies are acting responsibly in building and regulating their own platforms. They largely leave the public in the dark.”
How the analysis worked
To reach their conclusion, the environmental nonprofits rated the five social media platforms on a 27-point rating system. 27 is the highest rating and thus means that the platform always shares accurate information about the climate.
Also read: Fake news: This is why people believe them, according to science
The rating system (which is public on Google Docs) consisted of yes or no questions. Each question asks whether the company has implemented specific rules and regulations to combat climate-related fake news and whether the company has been transparent enough to provide relevant content to researchers, policymakers and the general public to stop the dissemination of this misinformed information. track and control. to post.
Twitter only got a measly 7 points, followed by TikTok’s 7 and Facebook’s 9 points. Both YouTube and Pinterest scored 14 points in comparison.
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A photo taken on October 5, 2021 in Toulouse shows the YouTube social media logo displayed by a tablet and a smartphone.
The growing problem of social media being used for ‘news’
Gone are the days when accurate, reliable information could only be obtained from peer-reviewed sources, established news networks and the like. Now people are content with — and like to believe — what social media posts say.
A report from Pew Research revealed the magnitude of the problem, and it is alarming. About half of Americans get their “news” from Facebook, Twitter, and every other social networking platform, with no intention of checking whether the information they are getting is factual or not.
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In this photo illustration, ABC News reports on Facebook’s news ban on Australian and international content on February 18, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Facebook has banned publishers and users in Australia from posting news as the Australian government prepares to pass laws requiring social media companies to pay news publishers for sharing content on their platforms.
Another alarming point is that the percentage of these users getting their news from the above sites has not decreased since 2020. This was also one of the most critical times for online disinformation as it was during the height of the US presidential election. elections and the first outbreak of the pandemic.
While people like Facebook have said they are doing what they can to fix the problem, not much has really changed. Even a Facebook executive (now Meta) blames users themselves for spreading fake news on the site, prompting understandable responses.
Related: Social Media Companies Are Being Held Responsible for Spreading Fake News by Newly Filed NY State Bill
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Written by RJ Pierce
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