Regardless of whether people choose to believe in climate change or not, there will always be a vast amount of misinformation on the topic shared across the internet and social media. Last year, an independent watchdog reported that on Facebook alone, there were an estimated 45,000 posts across 95 climate change denial pages, downplaying the severity of the current climate crisis or entirely denying it. On the other side of the scale, many individuals search for solutions to live more sustainably. Recently, Pinterest reported a rise in interest for sustainable suggestions compared to last year, with searches for “zero waste tips” 6 times higher, “recycled home decor” up 95%, and “zero waste lifestyle” up 64%. As a result, Pinterest is rolling out a new policy collaborating with the Climate Disinformation Coalition and the Conscious Advertising Network to prevent climate change misinformation from surfacing online, giving their users the best experience possible.
The policy has been developed to inform pinners based on common themes of misinformation the Conscious Advertising Network is seeing spread across social media platforms. This will be the first of its kind, making Pinterest the only major digital platform to have clearly laid out guidelines against false climate change information. This includes misinformation in any form and conspiracy theories across both content and advertisements.
“It is unequivocal that climate misinformation combined with advertising tools delays meaningful climate action. The Conscious Advertising Network is delighted to partner with Pinterest, who is taking a genuine leadership position by publishing this robust, well-considered and comprehensive climate misinformation policy. We look forward to the continued collaboration and call on all other tech platforms to follow Pinterest’s lead, “said Jake Dubbins, Co-Chair of Conscious Advertising Network.
Community and advertising guidelines have been updated to follow the rules of the misinformation policy, with any content violating the conditions that may harm the public’s well-being, safety, or trust set to be removed from the app. Examples of such content include:
- Content that denies the existence or impacts of climate change, the human influence on climate change, or that climate change is backed by scientific consensus.
- False or misleading content about climate change solutions that contradicts well-established scientific consensus.
- Content that misrepresents scientific data, including by omission or cherry picking, in order to erode trust in climate science and experts.
- Harmful, false, or misleading content about public safety emergencies, including natural disasters and extreme weather events.
Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s Head of Policy, shared her views on the newly taken step: “Pinterest believes in cultivating a space that’s trusted and truthful for those using our platform. This bold move is an expansion of our broader misinformation guidelines, which we first developed in 2017 to address public health misinformation and have since updated to address new and emerging issues as they come to the forefront. The expanded climate misinformation policy is yet another step in Pinterest’s journey to combat misinformation and create a safe space online. ”
To further encourage sustainable living, creators from around the world will be involved in launching an original content series on the platform. This content will see creators work to inspire app users with educational videos and advice surrounding topics such as thrifting tips, garment upcycling, minimizing waste, and much more. As well as this, users searching for relevant topics such as “sustainable living” will be directed towards articles featuring curated boards and content surrounding sustainable choices.
Michael Khoo, Climate Disinformation Co-Chair at Friends of the Earth, commented on the initiative, stating, “Climate disinformation on digital platforms is a serious threat to the public support needed to solve the climate crisis. Pinterest has demonstrated great leadership by creating a community standard that includes a definition of climate misinformation, and we will continue to press all platforms for transparency and reporting on their actions. We encourage others to take note of Pinterest’s efforts to reduce climate change disinformation. “