As Covid-19 spread across the globe early this year, Facebook went into action to combat potentially dangerous disinformation on its site. The company labeled and suppressed misleading content, removed disinformation and directed users to reputable sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
This swift action stood in sharp contrast to Facebook’s stance on another divisive and complex danger: climate change. That’s because, under the company’s guidelines, climate content can be classified as opinion and therefore exempted from fact-checking procedures.
The policy means that peer-reviewed science can be lumped into the same category as industry statements and even blatant disinformation. In September, for example, the CO2 Coalition, a nonprofit group that says increased carbon emissions are good for the planet, successfully overturned a fact-check when Facebook quietly labeled its post as “opinion.”