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Research shows X ranks lowest in fighting fake news on climate change

X ranked the lowest amongst social media platforms in combating climate disinformation


The Climate Action Against Disinformation Coalition (CAAD) released a report on Wednesday that X, formerly Twitter, has ranked the lowest amongst social media platforms in combating climate disinformation.

X ranks lowest on CAAD report

Over the past several years, platforms have announced some policies to stop the spread of false climate content. Still, it continues to spread on social media, especially on apps such as X, previously known as Twitter.

The CAAD released an analysis of the 5 most major platforms and their actions to combat climate mis- and disinformation. While applications such as Meta and YouTube are not strong in stopping the spread of misinformation on climate change, X appears to have no clear policies on what to do with such content.

According to the report, “In 2021, Google pledged to no longer allow the monetization of climate denial content on YouTube. In early 2023, TikTok added climate to its existing mis- and disinformation policies. In 2022, Pinterest took the largest step, banning climate misinformation in both organic content and advertisements.”

The evaluation was based on the social media platform’s community guidelines, terms of service policies, press releases, news articles, and independent research, and was scored out of 21 points. Pinterest scored the highest with 12 points, followed by TikTok with nine points, and Facebook and Instagram with eight points. YouTube received six points, while X had the lowest score with only one point.

After Elon Musk acquired Twitter in the fall of 2022, the platform’s enforcement regressed and certain moderation policies were reversed. “In the case of X/Twitter, Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company has created uncertainty about which policies are still standing and which are not,” states CAAD. 

This shows that social media is doing a poor job of addressing climate misinformation on their platforms. While Pinterest is leading the way, the other major platforms have significant gaps in their policies and enforcement. For example, YouTube, Meta, and TikTok do not have a clear and comprehensive definition of climate change as per the researchers’ claims.

Most importantly, not a single platform out of the major 5 informs users about what happens after they report climate misinformation or provides regular updates on how the changes to the algorithm affect climate change information.

This is a major concern, as climate misinformation can have a real-world impact on people’s attitudes and behaviors. It’s been a crazy year for everyone due to changes in the climate causing wildfires, and protestors calling for the end of fossil fuels. Either way, social media isn’t making it easier to fight these battles.

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