Facebook recently launched a Climate Science Information Center that the company said in a press release will provide fact-based information on climate change to its users. The Menlo Park, California-based company said that it is modeling the information center after its COVID-19 information center which it said has directed more than two billion people to health authority information.
“Climate change is real. The science is unambiguous and the need to act grows more urgent by the day. As a global company that connects more than 3 billion people across our apps every month, we understand the responsibility Facebook has and we want to make a real difference,” Facebook said in a press release.
The Facebook Climate Science Information Center will “feature facts, figures and data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and their global network of climate science partners, including the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), The Met Office and others” and that it will “include posts from relevant sources to highlight climate science news,” according to the press release.
Facebook also confirmed in the release that it will reach net-zero carbon emissions and run on 100 percent renewable energy this year–meeting its 2019 commitment. Additionally, it announced a new goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions for its value chain in 2030, which it said includes “emissions from suppliers and other factors such as employee commuting and business travel.”
The company says that getting its “own house in order is only the start. That’s why today, ahead of Climate Week, we are announcing a new Climate Science Information Center to connect people with science-based information, and an ambitious new net-zero emissions target for our company’s value chain.”
But despite its announcement, Facebook continues to face criticism for the hands-off approach it takes in moderating user posts–especially as it pertains to climate change-related content. According to NBC News, Facebook is not changing its current policy on misinformation which includes flagging “demonstrably false information,” but not removing the content unless it is deemed an urgent safety threat or violates Facebook’s Community Standards or ad policies.
This inaction has prompted a number of groups including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and Media Matters for America to join forces in calling on Facebook to do more to stop the spread of disinformation on its site. They say that “Facebook’s latest plans aren’t sufficient to address rampant disinformation on their platform.”
“We applaud Facebook for taking concrete steps to reduce its carbon footprint as a company by setting goals that are in line with what climate science demands. However, Facebook admits climate disinformation on its platform is a rampant problem, but is only taking half measures to stop it.” “Just as Facebook has taken responsibility for its own carbon emissions, it must take responsibility to stop climate deniers from spreading disinformation on its platform,” the coalition said in an Earthjustice press release.