A new report ranking climate change misinformation has given Twitter (recently rebranded as X) only a single point out of a 21-point scorecard when assessing policies aimed at reducing inaccurate information – the worst out of five major tech platforms.
Tech platforms are said to have long struggled with creating effective or coherent policies on content moderation, while events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2020 US presidential election resulted in swaths of misinformation circulating online. Amid conservative backlash and labor cuts in the tech industry, many companies have also deprioritized content moderation and opened the door to potential surges in misinformation on their platforms.
According to reports, the Climate of Misinformation report by Climate Action Against Disinformation looked at Meta, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter for their content moderation policies and efforts to mitigate inaccurate information such as climate denialism.
The group, made up of dozens of international climate and anti-disinformation organizations including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, released the report to draw attention towards climate misinformation on major platforms and makes the claim that big tech has become a “complicit actor” in accelerating the spread of climate denial.
According to the survey, Twitter’s low rank was because it failed to meet almost any of the organization’s criteria for climate misinformation policies, which ranged from having clear and publicly available information on climate science to having clearly articulated policies on what actions the company will take against the spread of misinformation.
The report found that billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk’s purchase of the company last year added to the confusion over how policies are enforced and how the company makes content decisions.
“Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company has created uncertainty about which policies are still standing and which are not,” the report said.
Although the other platforms fared better, none ranked especially high on the report’s scale – Pinterest scored highest with 12 points out of a possible 21, with Issues ranging from a lack of clear definitions of what constituted climate misinformation, failure to enforce existing policies in a transparent way and a lack of proof that companies apply these policies equally across different languages.
Story was adapted from the Guardian.