And here we go again:
A team of climate scientists working as approved fact checkers for Facebook evaluated a post last year by a White House-connected group that claims the world needs to burn more fossil fuels.
The researchers found that the post by the CO2 Coalition was based on cherry-picked information to mislead readers into thinking climate science models are wrong about global warming. The post, which was published originally in the conservative Washington Examiner, was an opinion piece that had been marked as false, in accordance with Facebook’s standards. The coalition, which is funded by groups that oppose regulations on fossil fuels, was prevented from advertising on the site.
It didn’t last long.
A “conservative” Facebook employee quietly intervened, overturning the fact check, and the misinformation was no longer labeled as false, according to the CO2 Coalition. The post was free to be shared, and a new loophole was created for the coalition and other groups that attack mainstream climate science.
The C02 Coalition (and others) learned that they can post climate misinformation on Facebook because Facebook will consider it “opinion” and therefore immune from vetting and fact-checking. Facebook is now the preferred platform for climate denial.
In related new, Axios tells us that people are beginning to see that Facebook is a bad corporate citizen that cannot be trusted:
Driving the news: In a call with over 200 advertisers Tuesday, Facebook’s head of trust and safety policy Neil Potts “acknowledged that the company suffered from a trust deficit,” according to the Financial Times. A source familiar with the meeting confirmed the comment.
- The conversation occurred amid a growing boycott of Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram’s ad platform by roughly a dozen brands.
The big picture: The boycotts are a result of pent-up frustration from lawmakers and marketers over Facebook’s content moderation policies, which many feel don’t go far enough in helping to curb hate speech and harmful content online.
- That frustration reached a tipping point during the recent Black Lives Matter protests, as Facebook refused to fact check or moderate posts from President Trump that many argued incited violence against protestors.
…The bottom line: The political and social pressure on Facebook is ramping up, but the tech giant doesn’t show any signs of seriously changing its policies in response to the mounting pressure, as most politicians and marketers seem to benefit too much from Facebook advertising to really give it up long-term.
Trust deficit is a fancy way of saying, “liars.”
But let’s be clear: Facebook is not going anywhere, and it is unlikely to change without some sort of legislation. It’s too big and it has heartwormed (is too a vurb!) into our economy.