The BBC is reporting that
Climate change denial is spreading unchecked on Facebook, two studies by disinformation researchers have found. The Center for Countering Digital Hate and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue said less than 10% of misleading posts were marked as misinformation. And the CCDH researchers linked the majority of these to just 10 publishers.
How did the researchers do it?
Researchers used social media analytics tool Newswhip to search for strings of key words including “climate change”, global warming” and, “fraud”, “hoax”, “cult”, “scam”, “lie” and so on….
Ah, so if you use Certain Words, researchers can spot if you’re spreading misinformation. Hence the title of this article, aimed at getting Cliscep noticed in the Great Fake Social Science Scam Algorithm Method Cloud of Unknowing which BBC Checkers take for Reality.
Highly shared articles made false assertions that climate change was not confirmed by science or claimed to debunk it with data. Of these, 69% could be traced back to just 10 “super-polluter” publishers – dubbed the “toxic ten” – the campaign group found.
So, “claiming to debunk a claim with data” gets you labelled as a “denier” (also a “toxic,” “extremist” “conspiracy theorist” – see below.)
But there’s more:
These posts represent the most extreme types of outright climate denial, according to the CCDH. They can’t tell us the true scale of climate misinformation on the site but they do indicate climate conspiracy content is spreading without being labelled or removed by Facebook. Campaign group Stop Funding Heat, working together with think tank the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), said it had found far more misinformation which more generally “undermines the existence or impacts of climate change, the human influence on climate change, and the need for urgent action”.
We at Climate Scepticism have never knowingly “undermined the existence of climate change,” which is probably why we didn’t make it to Hate’s top ten. That’s because, unlike the BBC’s Reality Check Team, we understand the English language.
And there’s worse:
Counter-extremism think tank the ISD discovered during the 2021 German election that most of the top shared posts relating to renewable energy on the site (18 out of 25) either doubted climate change or criticised climate action.
Think about that. The BBC disapproves of “criticising climate action,” especially during an election campaign, citing the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Strategic dialogue is presumably the sort that doesn’t involve criticism. Not before an election, anyway.
The BBC, being a responsible mainstream media organisation, doesn’t actually name any of the toxic extremist conspiratorial sites that “undermine the existence or impacts of climate change.” The two BBC Reality Checkers Rachel Schraer & Kayleen Devlin just flatulate in a vacuum. To understand what the BBC is talking about, you have to go to The Center for Countering Digital Hate website and download their report. There you’ll learn that the toxic ten are:
1) Breitbart, the disinformation site once run by Steve Bannon
2 Western Journal, whose founder claimed President Obama is Muslim
3) Newsmax, a key promoter of election fraud conspiracies
4) Townhall Media, founded by the Exxon-funded Heritage Foundation
5) Media Research Center, a “think tank” that received funding from Exxon
6) The Washington Times, founded by self-proclaimed messiah Sun Myung Moon
7) The Federalist Papers, a site that has promoted Covid misinformation
8) Daily Wire, one of the most engaged-with publishers on Facebook
9) Russian state media, pushing disinformation via RT.com and Sputnik News
10) Patriot Post, a secretive conservative site whose writers use pseudonyms
Steve Bannon, Exxon, Sun Myung Moon, Russian state media – enough said. But here are some of the specific charges made against the toxic ten:
US contributor John Nolte and Breitbart London’s executive editor James Delingpole both having repeatedly referred to climate change as a “hoax” pushed by so-called “climate alarmists”.
Climate Alarmists? What’s that? You mean people who say things like:
We are at a climate tipping point. Delayed action means humanity will be forced to endure continual and worsening surges in heat waves, droughts, typhoons and hurricanes, rising sea levels, and the degradation of our food supply. It is the greatest crisis ever faced by our species.
That’s from the introduction to Digital Hate’s Toxic Ten report. Alarmist? Us?
During the pandemic, Newsmax published an op-ed describing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a “lifesaver” for people infected with Covid, despite it being an ineffective and potentially unsafe treatment for the disease.
On Town Hall Media:
Townhall Media’s sites have published false or misleading claims on Covid and vaccines, including unproven allegations about dangerous side effects of vaccines and the efficacy of horse-dewormer ivermectin as a treatment.
On Media Research Center:
The site often uses the phrase “climate alarmist” to refer to people who highlight the threat of climate change. This NewsBusters article brands climate science as “alarmism” and promotes the suggestion that “so-called ‘hottest year’ claims… are political statements designed to persuade the public that the government needs to take action on man-made climate change.”
The Federalist Papers
…has pushed misinformation about the US elections and Covid, including unproven claims about anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine being an effective treatment for Covid. This Federalist Papers article included in our sample claims that leftists “use climate change to scare people into submission” and that their predictions have been “wrong every time”.
The Daily Wire
“…publishes misleading climate content, including the debunked claim that after the winter storm of February 2021, wind turbine failures led to power outages across Texas. “ This Daily Wire article included in our sample alleges that “the Left never really relies on the scientific method” when it comes to climate change and green policies, but rather “intimidates its opponents into silence”.
On RT and Sputnik:
Disinformation campaigns waged by RT.com include coverage ahead of the US 2020 election that “amplified voices of chaos” with headlines such as … “election teeters on the verge of chaos”.
The Patriot Post
“…repeatedly touted anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, as an effective Covid treatment.”
Oh, by the way, any attempt on the part of deniers to link the Covid crisis with the climate crisis is evidence of toxic extremist conspiracy theorising. While DigiHate and the BBC are free to theorise that there’s a conspiracy on the part of cult leaders and conservative millionaires to make the link between Covid and climate. Or something.
Full marks to Operation Hate though for publishing the Boolean Query they used to identify climate denialism (Nice expression, “Boolean Query.” I like it. Careful how you spell “query” though, or the Hate Police might get you.)
Here it is:
(climate OR “global warming” OR “climate change”) AND (alarmism OR alarm OR alarmist OR fraud OR hysteria OR hoax OR panic OR climategate OR realism OR hypocrite OR hypocrisy OR cult OR scare OR manipulation OR manipulated OR scam OR lie OR marx OR marxism OR soros OR “solar minimum” OR “agenda 21” OR “climate lockdowns” OR “agenda 2030” OR “new world order”) AND NOT(“climate denial” OR “climate denier”)
Got that? Mention Marx (Karl or Groucho) and Climate in the same article, or Climate and Solar Minimum, or (perish the thought) Climate and Realism, and you’re a Denier, i.e. (still according to Hate) someone who spreads “Deceptive or misleading content that undermines the existence or impacts of climate change, and the need for corresponding urgent action.”
So don’t Undermine those Impacts, or mention Realism, or you’ll be the subject of a Boolean Query on the part of the Strategic Dialogue enforcers and the Hate Police. And a Facebook ban, if the BBC gets its way.