Facebook will debunk myths about climate change, stepping further into ‘arbiter of truth’ role

FAN Editor

A polar bear in Repulse Bay, Nunavut Territory, Canada.

Paul Souders | Getty Images

Facebook on Thursday announced that it will now debunk common myths about climate change, further leaning into the “arbiter of truth” role that the company once renounced.

The social media company said it is adding a section to its climate change information hub that will features facts with accurate information about climate change misconceptions. This will include the fact that polar bear populations are declining because of global warming, as well as the fact that too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere harms the earth’s plant life.

The company said it plans to rely on experts from George Mason University, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the University of Cambridge to identify and debunk climate change myths.

Facebook has introduced these information hubs and relied on them as a key part of its tactic to combat the widespread problem of misinformation on its services. It’s a stark turnaround from CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s statement last May, when he defended unfettered speech from politicians on the platform, and said he did not think “Facebook or internet platforms in general should be arbiters of truth.”

Past examples include a Covid-19 information hub that was introduced in March and a voting information center that was introduced in August.

Facebook introduced its climate change information hub in September, shortly after the company took down a report with erroneous claims that Oregon wildfires had been started by Antifa members. That report had gone viral on the social network.

Facebook on Thursday also announced that it will now start adding information labels to posts about climate change that direct people to its climate change information hub.

Additionally, the company said it will now expand this hub to users in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Spain, South Africa, and Taiwan. The feature has been available in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany.

Users in other countries will be directed by Facebook to the U.N. Environment Programme when they search for climate related terms on the service, the company said.

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