Climate Disinformation at COP26 AND BEYOND

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The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and CASM Technology  partnered in creating “Deny, Deceive, Delay: Documenting and Responding to Climate Disinformation at COP26 and Beyond.” This report highlights failures to curb disinformation and prevent positive action efforts towards climate change mitigation. After 18 months of dedicated research, the main antagonist seems to be social media. According to the report, social media allows actors with various experience in the fields of science and academics to create and spread mis- or disinformation online, while feigning credibility to their followers. Furthermore, during COP26 (conference of parties), climate mitigation strategies were continually “downplayed or condemned as unfeasible, overly expensive or disruptive” instead of supported with the sense of urgency recommended by ISD. The report outlines some short-term as well as holistic policy response recommendations:

  1. Implement a unified definition of climate mis-and disinformation within key institutions [and] reflect these criteria in tech company Community Standards and/or Terms of Service.
  2. Limit media exemption loopholes within legislation[.]
  3. Enforce platform policies against repeat offender accounts.
  4. Improve transparency and data access for vetted researchers and regulators on climate
    misinformation trends, as well as the role played by algorithmic amplification.
  5. Restrict paid advertising and sponsored content from fossil fuel companies, known front
    groups and/or other actors repeatedly found to spread disinformation[.]
  6. Ensure better platform labelling on ‘missing context’ and the re-posting of old or recycled
  7. Enable API image-based searches to support research on viral disinformation.

For more information, check out HSDL’s In Focus on Climate Change.

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