Misinformation about climate change, including that funded by the fossil fuel industry, continues to thrive on social media. While Google, YouTube, Meta, and TikTok are still lagging behind in moderating climate denial content, X (formerly Twitter) appears to have no clear policies on what to do with such content and is not transparent about what actions (if any). is taking time, according to a analysis published today by a coalition of environmental groups and researchers known as Climate Action Against Misinformation.
From a total of 21 possible points, the researchers scored the platforms on how effectively they moderate factually incorrect information about the weather, using a combination of the company’s community guidelines, terms of service policies, press releases, news articles and independent investigations. Pinterest ranked highest with 12 points, followed by TikTok (nine points), Meta-owned platforms Facebook and Instagram (eight points), and YouTube (six points). X was last in the classification and obtained a single point.
X announced last year on Earth Day that it would ban ads that deny the scientific consensus on climate change. This was not the first time X promised to stop climate misinformation ads. The platform pledged in 2019 to no longer accept political ads, including those about global warming from climate denial groups, although this did nothing to stop “greenwashing” ad campaigns from ExxonMobil or the rest of the fossil fuel industry. .
Following Elon Musk’s acquisition of X in fall 2022, the platform has rolled back its enforcement or rolled back certain moderation policies. “In the case of X/Twitter, Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company has created uncertainty about which policies are still in place and which are not,” the researchers wrote.
In January, X announced it would relax its ban on “cause-based” political ads. While Twitter’s ban on advertising-inappropriate content covers “misrepresented content,” it currently does not. explicitly ban ads that promote climate denial. While X’s prompt for reporting tweets includes options for misleading information about Covid-19 or the election, there is no category for climate change denial. X users have noticed cases where the Community Notes of Climate deniers have been accepted and are included in environmental publications.
Although other platforms scored higher in the report, the report noted that most were missing some of the basics. For example, neither YouTube, Meta nor TikTok have what researchers say is “a clear and complete definition of climate change.” But the real problem is that not a single platform appears to update users about what happens after climate misinformation is reported or publish regular reports on how algorithm changes impact climate change information.