Twitter announces it’s banning advertisements that contradict the scientific consensus on climate change.
Sustainability leaders of Twitter state in an Earth Day blog post:
“We recognize that misleading information about climate change can undermine efforts to protect the planet. In the coming months, we’ll have more to share on our work to add reliable, authoritative context to the climate conversations happening on Twitter.”
Misleading advertisements will now fall under the social media platform’s inappropriate content policy. This move follows similar prohibitions on anti-scientific consensus advertising on Google and Facebook and Instagram parent, Meta.
Pre-Bunks Provide Disclaimer For Unreputable Claims
Just prior to the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Twitter began applying pre-bunks, or messages placed at the top of users’ feed to preemptively debunk false information. These tactics, along with hubs of credible authoritative information, are now being enlisted to aid in conversations about climate change.
According to the blog post, Twitter’s approach will be informed by authoritative sources like the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which released its 2022 report on climate change mitigation earlier this month.
Social Media is a Battleground for Debate on Climate Change, Free Speech
The climate change debate has become an increasingly politicized issue in the U.S., which often features political actors rather than scientific ones. As a result, polarization has increased, with liberals and conservatives showing marked divergence on the issue.
A 2020 study by Pew Research found 85% of adult American liberals believed human activity contributes to climate change, as opposed to just 14% of conservatives. Twitter often serves as an echo chamber for each side of this issue.
Since former president Donald Trump was banned from Twitter in January 2021, the social media site has drawn increasing ire from the right with claims that conservative voices are being censored on the platform.
In the wake of the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot, Twitter enforcement actions removed 77,000 accounts promoting QAnon conspiracies, many of whom were conservative Trump-supporters. However, a 2021 study from the Center for Business and Human Rights discovered claims of conservative censorship were unfounded.
Twitter Committed to Organizational Sustainability
Combatting misinformation about climate change is just the latest initiative Twitter has launched to promote sustainability.
In 2019, it unveiled a plan for its U.S. and Canada-based data centers to be 100% carbon-neutral by the end of 2022. Through a partnership with Watershed, a technology firm focused on energy and water conservation, the company sources renewable energy from wind and solar power projects.
Earlier this year, Twitter joined the EU Climate Pact, which includes commitments to fully transition to renewable energy at locations within the European Union, in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
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