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On April 6, 2022, Pinterest, described as a visual-focused platform, introduced a new policy prohibiting its users from sharing climate-related misinformation. This move made the company one of the rare social platforms to ban such content.
The newly updated misinformation guidelines noted that the platform would be able to remove every content denying the existence of climate change and the role of humans in causing it. It also suggested taking action against misleading and fake content related to climate change solutions, misrepresented scientific data, and false content about climate change and public safety.
The platform’s policy also mentioned the prohibition of conspiracy theories about climate change and ads containing misleading information. Pinterest may also take further actions, including the offenders’ accounts removal.
Pinterest’s new policy shows the expansion of the platform’s misinformation guidelines after their policy banning health misinformation in 2017 and other decisions related to conspiracy theories and elections-related misleading content. And according to the company, “The expanded climate misinformation policy is yet another step in Pinterest’s journey to combat misinformation and create a safe space online.”
The platform also noted its plan to highlight accurate and relevant information related to climate change through partnerships with creators and experts.
For Pinterest, “tackling issues like climate change or misinformation are complex. It requires the support and collaboration of an entire ecosystem.”
According to Michael Khoo, Climate Disinformation Co-Chair at Friends of the Earth, “Climate disinformation on digital platforms is a serious threat to the public support needed to solve the climate crisis.” He also added that “Pinterest has demonstrated great leadership by creating a community standard that includes a definition of climate misinformation.”
During the recent decades, people have been more engaged with the climate crisis than ever before. Nowadays, social media users are facing floods of climate-related news and visuals. Since then, climate change has been subject to false and misleading content circulating online and ending up being discussed in established media shaping people’s responses to the phenomenon and breaking trust in the stakeholders.