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Pinterest is first major tech platform to roll out a climate misinformation policy

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By Ellen Ormesher | Reporter

April 7, 2022 | 4 min read

In an effort to reduce the amount of false and misleading claims about the climate emergency found on its site, Pinterest is rolling out a climate misinformation policy.

Pinterest - from inspiration to digital excellence

Pinterest says the move is the latest step to combatting misinformation and creating a safe space online/ Image via Pinterest

Developed in collaboration with the Conscious Advertising Network (Can), the move ​​makes Pinterest the only major digital platform to have clearly defined guidelines against false or misleading climate change information, including conspiracy theories, appearing in content or ads.

Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s head of policy, says that the platform “believes in cultivating a space that’s trusted and truthful for those using it”.

Bromma adds that the move is an expansion of Pinterest’s broader misinformation guidelines, which it first developed in 2017 to address public health misinformation and has since updated to address “new and emerging issues as they come to the forefront“. She says: “The expanded climate misinformation policy is yet another step in Pinterest’s journey to combat misinformation and create a safe space online.”

Under the community guidelines, Pinterest will now remove any content it deems harmful to its users on the basis of wellbeing, safety and trust. Pinterest has also updated its advertising guidelines to explicitly prohibit any ads containing conspiracy theories, misinformation or disinformation related to climate change.

What content will the guidelines remove?

  • Content that denies the existence or impact of climate change, the human influence on climate change, or that climate change is backed by scientific consensus

  • False or misleading content about climate change solutions that contradict well-established scientific consensus

  • Content that misrepresents scientific data, including by omission or cherry-picking, in order to erode trust in climate science and experts

  • Harmful false or misleading content about public safety emergencies including natural disasters and extreme weather events

The policy is launched just days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its working group three report which warns it’s “now or never” to act on climate change.

Within the IPCC report, the “growth in misinformation” is called out as an attempt “to maintain the status quo by actors in positions of power in the face of rising social inertia for climate action”.

Reacting to the plea by IPCC scientists, Can says: “It is clear to the scientists of the IPCC that climate misinformation that delays climate action is an imminent threat to humanity to having a ‘livable’ future.

“We are delighted to see so much progress in the fight against climate misinformation. In the meantime, we would like to see all the major technology platforms publish or update their own policies to deal with the existential threat and imminent harm presented by climate misinformation.”

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