Pinterest announces ban on all climate misinformation | Pinterest

Pinterest is to block all climate misinformation, as the image-focused social network seeks to limit the spread of false and misleading claims.

Under the new policy the site is committing to take down content that distorts or denies the facts of the climate crisis, whether posted as adverts or normal “organic” content.

Pinterest is defining misinformation broadly: the company will take down content that denies the existence or effects of climate change or its human causes, as well as content that “misrepresents scientific data” in order to erode trust in climate science and harmful, false or misleading content about natural disasters and extreme weather events.

“Pinterest believes in cultivating a space that’s trusted and truthful for those using our platform,” said Sarah Bromma, the company’s head of policy. “This bold move is an expansion of our broader misinformation guidelines, which we first developed in 2017 to address public health misinformation, and have since updated to address new and emerging issues as they come to the forefront. The expanded climate misinformation policy is yet another step in Pinterest’s journey to combat misinformation and create a safe space online.”

The company has made a concerted effort for years to stand out from its social media peers with content guidelines that attempt to limit various categories of misinformation. Where Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg famously argued that technology companies should not be in the business of judging what is true, Pinterest takes the general stance that dangerous or damaging falsehoods are not welcome on its platform.

As well as simply banning various forms of misinformation entirely, preventing users from posting falsehoods about vaccination or Covid, the company has also deliberately limited its own tools. Users who search on the site for many health-related terms, such as “vaccines” or “cancer cure”, are not given normal results, instead being directed to health advice posted on the platform from organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Vaccine Safety Net.

Michael Khoo, who heads the anti-disinformation unit at Friends of the Earth, welcomed Pinterest’s latest move and called on others to follow suit. “Climate disinformation on digital platforms is a serious threat to the public support needed to solve the climate crisis,” he said.

“Pinterest has demonstrated great leadership by creating a community standard that includes a definition of climate misinformation, and we will continue to press all platforms for transparency and reporting on their actions. We encourage others to take note of Pinterest’s efforts to reduce climate change disinformation.”