Twitter bans climate change denial from advertising spaces

climate change denialism, IPCC report
© Erin Donalson

Ads which promote climate change denial will be banned from the social media platform, but individual users won’t be affected by the change

As of Friday, climate change denial advertising will no longer be allowed on Twitter under the inappropriate content policy.

The move comes as the EU votes through the Digital Markets Act. The legislation aims to regulate tech giants and gives Europe the power to fine 10% of their global profits if there are violations.

Ads risk perpetuating climate conspiracy theories online

Extremism is often cultivated in online communities.

Pseudo-scientific movements such as the anti-vaccination community blur the line between science and conspiracy, which can be especially dangerous when a user risks their health to believe in this perception.

In a potential echo chamber, an advertisement which proposes climate change denial can make a significant impact on how people think – as the content appears to be more legitimate than a single, unpaid post.

Announcing the decision, Twitter explained that the social media platform supports the fight against climate change by citing the landmark IPCC Report.

Twitter says climate denial should no longer make money

Figures released by the company find that conversation about sustainability has grown by over 150% since 2021, with decarbonisation discussions up by 50%. It seems that climate discussions have grown substantially on the platform.

In a statement on Friday (22 April), Twitter said: ” We believe that climate denialism shouldn’t be monetized on Twitter, and that misrepresentative ads shouldn’t detract from important conversations about the climate crisis. This approach is informed by authoritative sources, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports.”

While clear statements of anti-climate change can be marked, a more insidious tech-environmental issue is how social media promotes fast fashion culture. The immense output of human labour in the Global South mostly leads to tragedy – whether in poverty, injury or exploitation – while ‘microtrend’ cycles lead to clothes being bought and discarded on a regular basis.

“Human rights” at the basis of any successful fight against climate

The infamous 2021 IPCC Report established, unanimously, that humans were solely responsible for all measurable elements of climate change.

The smaller IPCC Report – which dropped in March 2022 – found that there is a serious disparity in climate change experiences.

The authors wrote: “Climate justice comprises justice that links development and human rights to achieve a rights-based approach to addressing climate change.”

Richer countries were largely responsible for carbon emissions, while the worlds’ poorest populations experienced the most extreme consequences of environmental change.

A study found that from 1970-2017, the United States and the European Union have been accountable for 74% of resource extraction globally. Resource extraction, whether oil or gold, disturbs local ecosystems, communities and livelihoods.


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