Climate change denial theories are making a comeback on social media

After billionaire Elon Musk took over Twitter in 2022, which reinstated many banned accounts and opened the possibility of paying benefits, misinformation about climate change has once again proliferated on social media.

Climate change misinformation has proliferated online in 2022, researchers say, pointing to the impact of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, which reinstated many banned accounts.

“What really surprised us this year was the resurgence of language reminiscent of the 1980s: phrases like ‘climate hoax’ and ‘climate fraud’ denying the phenomenon of climate change.”said Jennie King of the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD).

Among the most popular false claims are that CO2 plays no role in climate change or that global warming is not caused by human activity. In a report, Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD) detailed the coalition of associations.

An analysis of Twitter posts by two computer scientists at City University London found 1.1 million tweets or retweets using climate-skeptic terms in 2022.

This is almost twice as much as in 2021Climate change misinformation peaked in December, a month after the COP27 summit and billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, according to researchers Max Falkenberg and Andrea Baroncelli.

The American group Center to Combat Digital Hate (CCDH) has pointed the finger at Elon Musk, who has reinstated many banned Twitter accounts and opened the payment option for a verified account.

“Climate Misinformation Explosion”

“Elon Musk’s decision to open his platform to hate and misinformation has led to an increase in climate misinformation on the platform.” Callum Hood, head of research at CCHR, said.

The American billionaire himself warned about the dangers of global warming in August 2022. “high risk”.

The use of the hashtag #ClimateScam has exploded on Twitter since July 2022.According to analysis by CAAD and CCDH.

For weeks, it was even the most suggested search term on the site for people who typed in the word. “weather”.

A quarter of all climate-skeptic tweets came from just 10 accounts, including Maxime Bernier, leader of Canada’s right-wing populist party, and Paul Joseph Watson, editor of the conspiracy theory website InfoWars.

Related to other conspiracy theories

Other social networks are also affected.

Videos using hashtags related to climate change denial on TikTok grew by 4.9 million views.According to the Association for Advanced Democracy (ADI).

A search for the videos often returned ads for climate-skeptic products.

YouTube spokeswoman Elena Hernandez said the ads were later removed.

TikTok and Twitter declined to speak when asked.

other fake news

On the contrary, ADI on Facebook found that the number of such posts decreased compared to 2021.

In its report, CAAD notes that climate-skeptic content is routinely linked to election fraud, vaccinations, the Covid pandemic, migration, and other misinformation…

“We are definitely seeing an increase in conspiracy theories. Climate is the new divisive topic in the discussion of ideas. says Jennie King of ISD.

The vast majority of world scientists agree that humanity is warming the planet by burning fossil fuels.

“There is no doubt that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land” In its 2021 report, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called on CO2 emissions to be reduced as much as possible to avoid the worst consequences of this warming.

“We encourage platforms to think about the very real consequences of climate change,” CCDH’s Callum Hood insists. “Repeatedly spreading blatantly false climate information should not have the current audience.”

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