Accuracy in Media

Facebook doesn’t do enough to combat climate misinformation on the site, according to a new Vice report.

But the issue is actually more about campaign groups demanding that Facebook censor content that is contrary to the prevailing woke narrative. The insistence is that anything contradicting the more extreme climate change stories is misinformation that must be removed from the site.

This isn’t how either free speech or a civilized society work. Vice itself would be outraged if such standards were applied to its content, so quite why it’s so supportive of those standards being imposed upon Facebook is hard to understand.

Vice:

“….a trio of new reports shows that work is being directly undermined by Facebook’s inability to prevent toxic misinformation about climate change from pervading its platform.

And two of those reports show how the company is profiting on that toxic misinformation.”

Fairly strong claims and language there. One such claim is that an Exxon advertisement was misinformation for stating that if a household were forced to go all-electric that would cost some $25,600 to replace appliances. The comeback from those who would censor is that the new law only talks about new builds. But that doesn’t mean that the Exxon claim is wrong, nor does it mean that the Exxon claim must be wiped from Facebook. Not unless the aim and intention is that anything that contradicts the prevailing climate change narrative must be censored.

In the full report, there are some other examples of this heinous misinformation that must be banished from the site. Pointing out that Judith Curry is an actual climate scientist published in many scientific journals, Greta Thunberg is a vociferous high school dropout is unkind yet true. But apparently, also climate misinformation of the kind that must be banished from the hallowed pages of Facebook. So too is it true, if unkind to point out, that the UN has been claiming we’ve 10 or 20 years to forestall societal disaster for 50 years now. Matt Ridley (Viscount Ridley, or Lord Ridley) is one of the more careful thinkers on the subject, reporting his views on how meat is not a direct cause of emissions (animals might be, but there will be animals without the meat industry) is not climate misinformation.

But these are the claims being made in the background reports that Vice is then discussing.

Vice is a significant part of the media landscape for millennials. The TV station reaches 60 million U.S. homes, the magazine distributes 900,000 copies, the website has tens of millions of visitors a month. There’s a certain duty to the audience to explain reality – even to speak truth to power.

Vice advocating the censorship of the world’s major social media channel doesn’t meet those desired standards. Something that’s easy enough to test too. If anyone tried to impose those same standards upon Vice they’d be leading a civil liberties campaign against the attempt to prevent them speaking their own mind. But they seem happy to back such a thing elsewhere. Shame.




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