Climate change has been front and center for some time now and with the recent passing of Earth Day, it only makes sense that more and more people are highlighting the issue.
While the case goes back years, the only difference now is that things are more digital and that makes it easier to raise awareness.
Previously, we relied heavily on advertisements on radio, television or in the traditional newspaper. But today, everything revolves around social networks and their growing presence.
In case you didn’t already know, more and more people prefer to get their news online because it’s cost effective, fast and convenient. As you can see, we’re not talking about reliability and there’s a big reason for that.
A new report from researchers has brought to light startling revelations about the world of social media and the lies being portrayed about the current climate change crisis.
Big names included TikTok, Facebook and Twitter, while the report called Pinterest into its good books.
The report by a series of non-profit environmental groups such as Greenpeace USA, Friends of the Earth and Avaaz mentioned how there is a thin line between fact and fiction in areas like these and while so many of these platforms work hard to combat issues of trust and the spread of misinformation, it is clear that more needs to be done.
Recently, we’ve seen Facebook come out into the limelight and talk in detail about its efforts in this regard. But the new report says it’s time for the company to take responsibility for its insufficient efforts.
Environmental groups have taken the time to rank major social media companies from best to worst performers in terms of their efforts to meet the challenge. And here’s what the stats revealed:
- Pinterest topped the list in terms of efforts to promote climate change
- YouTube came second, followed by Facebook and then TikTok
- Twitter did the worst and was criticized for not taking the issue seriously, despite expanding its user base
The researchers who participated in the study revealed how the rankings were based on the transparency of the results displayed and what the organization was doing to combat the problem through their respective platforms.
Yes, some did much better than their counterparts, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t shortcomings in every company.
This included failing to remove erroneous information in a timely manner and a vague overview of measures and policies implemented.
At the end of it all, it leaves so many reviewers wondering if these companies actually care to take the time to fix the problem. After all, it’s a huge responsibility on their shoulders to provide credible context.
A senior advisor belonging to Avaaz, Rebecca Lenn, says it’s almost as if companies are choosing to leave their users in the dark and that’s not right.
The report also pointed out that without any transparency on climate misinformation, it is all the more difficult to properly tackle the crisis. For example, if you are not going to inform the public about the actual prevalence rate of climate change, how can readers understand the seriousness of the situation.
With Twitter’s ranking at the bottom of the list, it only made sense that a quick response would be given by the company’s spokesperson. They say the platform understands the seriousness of the matter, adding that they believe more needs to be done for greater credibility of climate-related facts.
Likewise, they also shed light on how the app does not allow any advertisers on its platform which it claims is fueling misinformation about the climate crisis. This was also highlighted by the company on Friday in a recent blog post where the issue was again acknowledged.
TikTok, on the other hand, has also come forward to speak out on the matter. They claim the company works with dedicated fact checkers to limit misinformation on matters as serious as these.
Pinterest says it combines human interaction with machine learning to deliver the best and most authentic facts to audiences.
Meanwhile, both YouTube and Facebook claim to be following their fact-checking systems to deal with the spread of climate misinformation.
It was interesting to see that none of the top five social media companies mentioned mentioned fake news on the climate issue in their own reports. Again, this raises many questions about how seriously they plan to tackle the problem.
It is clear that many lies are overlooked and this could be a potential red flag for the public that the reading does not always believe.
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