Sure Facebook, 51 advertisements denying the link between human activities and climate change were viewed a total of eight million times on the platform during the first half of 2020. All sold for the tidy sum of $ 42,000.
This is revealed in a report released Thursday, October 8 by the think tank InfluenceMap based on public data from Mark Zuckerberg’s group. Yet Facebook prohibits false advertisements and again repeated in September to be ” committed to fighting climate change “.
8 million views for $ 42,000
Of the 51 advertisements identified, only one was removed by the social network, while the others were able to stay online for the entire time planned for their campaign.
According to this report, four conservative American groups were behind most of these ads. The targets ? Men over 55 in rural US states including Wyoming and Texas.
Tomorrow @InfluenceMap releases its brand-new report ‘Climate Change and Digital Advertising’, assessing the proliferation of climate disinformation ads on Facebook’s US platform, messaging tactics, and target audience. pic.twitter.com/NrfJ8hNErp
– InfluenceMap (@InfluenceMap) October 7, 2020
Two communication strategies
Also according to the study, the most common strategy was to attack the credibility of climate science, notably by asserting that there is no scientific consensus on the subject. The second most used strategy was to question the effect of greenhouse gases emitted by the combustion of hydrocarbons on climate change.
“Spread dangerous rubbish”
Reacting to this report, US Senator Elizabeth Warren said: “ Insightful InfluenceMap Report Reveals How Facebook Lets Climate Skeptics Spread Dangerous Hogwash To Millions “.
Elizabeth Warren was one of four Democratic senators who wrote to the platform in July to demand that she ” end the loopholes that allow climate misinformation to spread “. She had also called to dismantling of Mark Zuckerberg’s group as well as the rest of the Gafa (Google, Apple and Amazon).
Responding to the study’s publication, a Facebook spokesperson said the company had opened a ” investigation of the findings of this report », Recalling their efforts« relentlessly fighting against the spread of false information about the climate on Facebook “.
* Article updated Thursday, October 8 at 4:45 p.m. with reaction from Facebook.