Pinterest bans climate misinformation in posts and ads

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Pinterest will ban ads and posts with climate misinformation in its latest attempt to block harmful content on its virtual bulletin board service, the company announced on Wednesday.

The ban includes any content that denies the existence or impacts of climate change, or denies that humans are influencing global warming and that the phenomenon is supported by scientific consensus. Inaccurate messages about natural disasters and extreme weather events will also be removed, as will misrepresentations of scientific data by omission or cherry picking intended to erode trust in climate science.

Sustainability searches are on the rise on Pinterest, with queries for “zero waste lifestyle” jumping 64% in the past year.

Google said in October it would no longer show ads on YouTube videos and other content promoting inaccurate climate change claims. Some publications have stopped accepting ads from fossil fuel companies, while ad agencies are increasingly refusing industry work.

A report released this week by a group of experts convened by the United Nations concluded that nations must drastically reduce fossil fuel emissions in the coming years to avoid a disastrous level of global warming.

Pinterest has blocked several ad categories over the years, banning ads showing culturally appropriate and inappropriate costumes in 2016, anti-vaccination content in 2017, political ads in 2018, and weight loss ads in 2021. In response , companies such as Shapermint have changed their marketing campaigns to feature women of all body types, according to Pinterest.

Ads represent all of Pinterest’s revenue. The company, which declined to say how many climate misinformation ads it has picked up in the past, said it uses human moderators, automated systems and user reports to enforce its policies.

Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s chief policy officer, said the company wants to prevent misinformation before it gains popularity on the site. Tech giants such as Meta and Twitter have come under fire from users and advertisers for allowing hate speech, conspiracy theories and misleading content on their services.

“We always want to make sure that our policies are forward-looking, that we don’t wait to be overwhelmed by one type of harmful content and then move on,” she said. “At that point, it’s a bit too late.”

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