Facebook starts page with climate articles from credible sources

SAN FRANCISCO • Facebook yesterday launched a climate science information centre to elevate credible sources on climate change, as critics question its role in the spread of misinformation on the issue.

Facebook said the project is modelled on its Covid-19 Information Centre, and that it had launched a similar feature last month on voting in preparation for the US election in November. The tool will be rolled out in the United States, France, Germany, Britain and eventually in other countries.

"The Climate Science Information Centre is a dedicated space on Facebook with factual resources from the world's leading climate organisations and actionable steps people can take in their everyday lives to combat climate change," the company said in a post.

It said articles from high-quality publishers and other sources on climate science news will also be available at the centre.

Facebook has faced allegations that it permits false claims around climate change through a policy that exempts opinion articles from its external fact-checking system. It has said it prioritises handling of misinformation that poses an immediate threat of harm, like bogus Covid-19 cures or hate speech that incites violence.

Facebook's global policy chief Nick Clegg said the company would continue exempting false claims about climate change posted by politicians, even though these are often among the most popular content on the platform. "No social media company has ever tried to do so for the simple reason that political speeches always are characterised by exaggerations, selected uses of statistics and exaggerated claims of virtues from one candidate and vices of others," Mr Clegg told reporters.

The company has not measured the effectiveness of its Covid-19 Information Centre in countering false narratives about the pandemic, although chief product officer Chris Cox said it has seen 600 million people clicking on the tool, which executives considered a success.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2020, with the headline 'Facebook starts page with climate articles from credible sources'. Print Edition | Subscribe