Pinterest has announced plans to block all climate misinformation from its social network.
Image-focused Pinterest is predominantly used for sharing and finding home renovation inspiration, clothing, and beauty hacks. But it’s not immune from those who use the platform to make misleading, or blatantly false, claims about the climate emergency.
But, unlike other platforms (see: Facebook), Pinterest is taking responsibility for the spread of misinformation. It has pledged to remove all climate crisis denial-focused content from its pages. This includes anything that denies that climate breakdown has been influenced by human beings, as well as the misrepresentation of scientific data, and false information about solutions to the climate crisis.
Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s head of policy, told the Guardian that Pinterest wants to “cultivate a space that’s trusted and truthful.” It is the only social media platform to regulate climate misinformation in this way.
The problem with climate misinformation
Last September, Meta (then known as Facebook) announced new plans to counteract misinformation about the climate crisis on its platforms Facebook and Instagram. This included things like investing in misinformation prevention-focused organizations and producing video content spotlighting young climate activists.
But many still criticized Meta for simply not doing enough. And last November, two studies—one by the Center for Countering Digital Hate and one by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue—found that misleading information was still rife on Facebook.
They discovered that fewer than 10 percent of misinformation-centered posts were flagged as such. The posts referred to the climate crisis using words like “scam” and “hysteria.”
Climate denial posts are dangerous. The climate crisis is a very real and present threat, after all.
Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions—driven by animal agriculture, fashion, and the transportation industries, to name a few of the biggest culprits—are rising to dangerous levels. But time is still on our side.
According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we can halve emissions by 2030. But only if industries take climate action now.
The spread of false information on social media undermines the severity of the situation.
Michael Khoo is the head of Friends of the Earth’s anti-disinformation unit. He told the Guardian that, by removing climate misinformation, Pinterest is demonstrating “great leadership.”
He added: “We encourage others to take note of Pinterest’s efforts to reduce climate change disinformation.”