Facebook advertisers promoted false and misleading claims about climate change on the platform in recent weeks, just as the COP26 conference was getting under way.
According to Reuters, Days after Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, touted the company’s efforts to combat climate misinformation in a blog as the Glasgow summit began, conservative media network Newsmax ran an ad on Facebook that called man-made global warming a “hoax.”
The ad, which had multiple versions, garnered more than 200,000 views. In another, conservative commentator Candace Owens said, “apparently we’re just supposed to trust our new authoritarian government” on climate science, while a U.S. libertarian think-tank ran an ad on how “modern doomsayers” had been wrongly predicting climate crises for decades.
Facebook, which recently changed its name to Meta, does not have a specific policy on climate misinformation in ads or unpaid posts. Alphabet’s Google said last month it would no longer allow ads that contradict scientific consensus on climate change on YouTube and its other services, though it would allow content that discusses false claims.
Facebook generally does not remove misinformation in posts unless it determines they pose imminent real-world harm, as it did for falsehoods around COVID-19. The company says it demotes posts ranked as false by its third-party fact-checkers and prohibits ads with these debunked claims.
It says advertisers that repeatedly post false information may face restrictions on their ability to advertise on Facebook. It exempts politicians’ ads from fact-checks.
Asked about ads pushing climate misinformation, a company spokesperson said in a statement: “While ads like these run across many platforms, Facebook offers an extra layer of transparency by requiring them to be available to the public in our Ad Library for up to seven years after publication.”
More to follow