13 May, 2022
Last autumn, analysis made by ‘Stop Funding Heat’ revealed the ‘staggering’ scale of climate misinformation on Facebook. The conclusion was stark: spurious information about climate related issues spreads like wildfire, it is harmful and ought to be debunked.
Google and the United Nations (UN) have come together to act. The tech firm and intergovernmental organisation have established a partnership to provide verified climate information soon after you click ‘search’. The UN have recognised that false information “threatens progress and understanding” and the need for accurate information surrounding climate change “has never been greater”.
Nobody should underestimate the power of Google. The depth of information, knowledge and audience of its database is unparalleled. The provision of truthful UN climate content on the platform is, therefore a powerful tool for change.
It’s clear that using information and technology to tackle climate misinformation is an important step towards promoting a carbon-free future. Pinterest have already latched on to this, and this week have become the first social network to prohibit the sharing of inaccurate climate data. Hopefully we will start to see more and more media sites implementing misinformation policies, not only spanning climate issues, but health and politics too.
Responses to the recent ‘infodemic’ of misinformation certainly need to be made across the whole digital network. Being able to safely search for and learn about critical issues should be a given. So anything that moves us closer to it is worth embracing.
By Bertie Bateman