Social Networks

The influence of Facebook on Climate Change (Truth or Lies ?)


This paper is flagging the issue of the impact of Facebook as a lead platform in social media on climate change knowledge and concerns, whilst Facebook provides a source of awareness information; the key issue is misinformation and the drivers behind those responsible for this misinformation.

Facebook is culpable in that it does very little to regulate the information being posted, it allows the right to opinion-ship but lacks credible censorship of sensationalist ideas and content likely to cause fear rather than educate and considering a “view” is counted after just 3 seconds and videos play automatically, the stats on Facebook reveal little on factual measurement of content rather numbers and volume.


Climate change is an emotive and politically charged topic that has divided communities over multiple campaigns and debates, (1) “Social media platforms have been used to coordinate rescue and relief operations in the aftermath of climate change–related disasters, as well as to organize movements and campaigns about climate change. However, most research about climate change communication in social media spaces are based on quantitative analysis of tweets from Western countries” (Tandoc, E.C& Eng, N. 2017,p47)

Facebook is one of the most heavily used mediums on the subject (21.18 billion visits March 2109-source Facebook) therefore the influence on Climate Change actions and attitudes is subjective to what is posted in an unregulated media. The purpose of this paper is not to prove or disprove Climate change but to challenge the way information on the subject is handled and delivered on Facebook.


Facebook provides an ideal platform for climate activism, recently Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old who struck a chord with millions with resulting social reactions including strikes, social backlash against governments and prominently featured extreme activist groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Get Up creating public social disturbances to further distort the information of climate change.

Climate change is one of the many major issues facing our world today, political tensions with North Korea, the global Corona Virus Pandemics, wars in the Middle East and the influence it has one the worlds energy prices. Apart from the recent pandemic, it would be fair to say not many issues have garnered so much debate and springing up of social movement organisations than we have seen before as is the climate change phenomena.

“Successful climate change modelling must reflect what people and organizations actually do. Yet, to date, most climate mitigation assessments have tended to mischaracterize the behaviour of the economic agents whose decisions ultimately affect the planet’s climate”. Much of this mischaracterization stems from known deficiencies in neoclassical economic theory, with its overly narrow reliance on unrealistic and unsubstantiated assumptions about the characteristics of consumers and firms.”(2) (John A. “Skip” Laitner, Stephen J. De Canio Irene Peters 2000)

Perhaps for many, scientist showing charts, complex data and graphs of climate change, for the average Facebook user is something they may quickly loose interest from a lack of understanding (stating this subjectively) but a protest backed by a cause especially with the innocence of youth demanding answers, a group apparently disrupting the day to day flow of life telling us all to be scared, gets the headline.

Ironically Thunberg called for governments and leaders to listen to the scientists, but it is her creativity that that captivated the audience but was anyone listening to the message intended?

Supporting Arguments

Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University a well-known Climate Scientist stated ““When it comes to efforts to avert catastrophic climate change, Facebook is no ally. They are an enemy.” And “Facebook was criticized for refusing to take down a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in late May. In a statement to the Washington Post, Facebook defended its refusal to remove the video by saying: “We don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true.” That policy is a welcome mat for climate deniers.” (3) (Mann, M. 2019)

A prominent Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe posted a link to ThinkProgress an article on Twitter. “The article doesn’t even mention how [Facebook] quietly classified ‘clean energy’ and ‘climate change’ as political topics last summer.” After that, Hayhoe said she could no longer use Facebook to promote her “Global Weirding” climate-change videos, which are produced by KTTZ Texas Tech Public Media, to friends of people who liked her Facebook page. “I can’t unless I apply to be a political entity,” she said, “which I will not, because science isn’t blue or red.”(4) (Stover. D, 2019)

 Facebook  along with Twitter, You tube and a few other social media platforms were targeted by  the US Justice Department July 2019 who launched an antitrust review of their practices; as per the Justice department review the investigation will investigate whether these companies “are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers.” Whilst the investigation is not specifically aimed around climate change climate misinformation the department may find recourse if any violations are identified, this is evidence that Facebooks conduct and activities have raised enough concern and feedback to prompt a Federal investigation in the USA.

To demonstrate the case in point, it was disappointing when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg struck out badly on the Recode Interview with journalist Kara Swisher when Zuckerberg defended the rights of Facebook users to publish Holocaust denial posts, saying he didn’t “think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong”.(5)(Swisher, K. 2018)

Influencers and Social Media

To explain the interrelationship between influencers and social media this extract from Climatic Change 2016 states “individuals can act as ‘opinion leaders’ who spread public messages through social networks via a ‘two-step flow’ of communication (6) (Katz 1957, p61-78).

Opinion leadership processes are evident in online social networks (7) (Choi 2015p696-711), and have informed online climate change campaigns such as Al Gore’s BWe initiative (8) (Nisbet and Kotcher 2009). “

Opinion Leadership in itself bears an immediate issue for those seeking facts, a phrase coined by US Republican Bill Bullard says “Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge, it requires no accountability, no understanding” with this statement in mind I would challenge anyone following climate change activism on Facebook to work out how much of the climate change movement is opinion and how much is fact.

Following on from the first point in the Climatic Change article “Second, in line with the theories of identity protective cognition (e.g. Cohen 2003) and cultural cognition (e.g. Kahan et al. 2007), communicating about an issue within social networks that hold shared values may increase an issue’s perceived importance.  Third, interpersonal communication can shape perceptions of in-group norms (e.g. Kashima et al. 2013b), which influence pro-environmental behaviour (e.g.Cialdini et al. 1990).

Finally, the transmission of second-hand information can be markedly different from the information received firsthand (e.g.Kashima 2000). Thus, if a mass-communicated climate change message is shared through extended social networks, the information passed on may differ from the original message. Therefore, it is critical to look specifically at interpersonal communication to identify the types of information that are likely to diffuse throughout society (9) (e.g., Kashima 2000, 2008, 2014).

This source of information highlights key words, “opinion”, “perceived importance”, “second-hand information” and stating the information once passed through the social network may well be different to the original message, these are key pieces of evidence pointing to the unreliability of Facebook in regards to Climate change information and representation.

Besides the activists, influencers and contributors there is another line of climate action “supporter” on Facebook, some major oil and gas fuel companies have spent millions of dollars to fight against climate regulations but selling to the marketing on being climate aware and promoting a low carbon footprint via Facebook through funding community groups. These oil and energy companies have demonstrated poor level of public  advertising within Facebook, the unclear methods and rules of censorship have allowed further misinformation to be generated at this corporate level on Facebook

A report by Influence cited in reference to the Paris Agreement “This research finds that, in the three years following the Paris Agreement, the five largest publicly-traded oil and gas majors (ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP and Total) have invested over $1Bn of shareholder funds on misleading climate-related branding and lobbying.

These efforts are overwhelmingly in conflict with the goals of this landmark global climate accord and designed to maintain the social and legal license to operate and expand fossil fuel operations. “and states damningly “a new study of Facebook’s advertising disclosure platform suggests oil companies and their trade groups have spent $17m directly on political social media advertisements since May 2018.

The Guardian tells us that “ExxonMobil spent $9.6m – by far the biggest sum – ConocoPhillips $910,000 and BP $790,000. (10)( Oct2019), Last year BP donated $13m to a campaign, also supported by Chevron, that successfully stopped a carbon tax in Washington state – $1m of which was spent on social media ads, research shows.”

Freedom of speech, or not?

Digital platforms do not provide full censorship nor where they ever intended to, Facebook and other social media platforms are about numbers of users like any internet-based business, they run sets of algorithms that measure and determine what we see.

Facebook has some measures to report hate speech and other categories defining inappropriate content but misses the mark on many subjects with activist being able to post extreme views. A report by Time Magazine examined how Facebooks algorithms worked and found “The algorithms Facebook currently uses to remove hate speech only work in certain languages. That means it has become easier for Facebook to contain the spread of racial or religious hatred online in the primarily developed countries and communities where global languages like English, Spanish and Mandarin dominate.”

Climate Change Deniers are targeted by Facebook Climate change supporters with many calling for censorship even some posts demanding that climate change denial be made illegal, irrespective of their view I would question why freedom of speech is not extended to these groups, opposing views are meant to be healthy for debate in search of the truth.

 Global Environmental Change (volume 32) explains the issue for both sides, “the political nature of matters of concern is disavowed to the extent that the facts in themselves are elevated, through a short-circuiting procedure, on to the terrain of the political” (11)(Swyngedouw, 2010, p. 217, see also Machin, 2013).

This reflects a wider tendency in environmental political commentary to underestimate the ‘ideological and social theoretical underpinnings of the environmental debate’ (Manno, 2004, p. 156). For Hulme ‘disagreements about climate change are as likely to reveal conflicts within and between societies about the ideologies that we carry and promote, as they are to be rooted in contrary readings of the scientific evidence’ (Hulme, 2009, p. 33)

This are relevant in how they are played out on Facebook with those who would be seen to profit from the fearmongering, think Al Gore who already predicted the worlds end and missed,  has changed the alarm from global cooling, then to warming and now just climate change,.

“An example of his power was shown when physicist Dr. William Happer, then Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy, testified before Congress in 1993 that scientific data did not support the hypothesis of manmade global warming. Gore saw to it that Happer was immediately fired. Fifteen years later, Happer quipped, “I had the privilege of being fired by Al Gore, since I refused to go along with his alarmism. I did not need the job that badly.”(Lehr, J. Harris, T.2018) Gore still fuels his views on Facebook with his own pages and site,

Evidence Based

 President Trump coined the expression “Fake News” this is real and detrimental effect on the user trying to find out what is real when combing through the vast landscape of Climate Change view and opinions on Facebook, contributors passionate about Climate change for or against can mount some legitimate and well-presented pages and sites that feel authorative, the use of words and images can be very powerful in conveying the message and can change very quickly.

To illustrate this, point the examples below show A, B and C as fake news and D, E F as legitimate sources of news from six Facebook news posts on Climate Change (Lutze. L, Drummond. C, Slovic. P, Arvai. J Sept 2019)

A study conducted by the authors titled Fake vs Real News enlisted participants to select which ones were real or fake, keeping in mind Facebook uses tags, likes and shares that influence the readers judgement.(Sept 2018), based on the outcome of the study that engaged 2287 participants and using various forms of measurement and algorithmics the participants were guided to answer the following questions The questions were: (1) Do I recognize the news organization that posted the story?; (2) Does the information in the post seem believable?; (3) Is the post written in a style that I expect from a professional news organization?; and (4) Is the post politically motivated? These guidelines reflected common recommendations for identifying fake news”

“In addition to critical thinking, our results suggest that motivated reasoning also contributes to a person’s evaluation of fake news. We know that, when confronted with information that is inconsistent with deeply held beliefs or ideological viewpoints, people are often motivated to reject it in favor of information that is more closely aligned with their preexisting beliefs (12)(Taber and Lodge, 2006).

Along these lines, our results show that the more politically conservative a participant was, the more likely they were to trust fake climate news and mistrust real climate news. But, despite the powerful effect of motivated reasoning, our interventions led doubters of climate change to trust, like, and share fake climate news to a lesser degree”.  (13)(Lutzke, L., Drummond, C., Slovic, P. and Árvai, J., 2019.)


From the argument presented and the research only touched on in this paper, we see the way Climate Change information is delivered on Facebook is influenced by drivers that cannot be contained by any regulatory methods. Contributors post opinions among facts and the effort to discern which is which is laborious and takes skilled researchers in depth studies to sift through the material.

As a user without any skills in analysing meta data and climate change source data, if not using asocial learning, how can the average Facebook user be confident in knowing what they are reading is fact or opinion, validated or made up? 

Dr Tim Dean expresses this view “Not long ago, if you had a penchant for conspiracy theories, racial vilification or fringe anti-science theories, you’d be hard pressed to find enough like-minded nutjobs in your neighbourhood to hold a bi-monthly tin foil hat dinner. Now, you can join with thousands of like-minded cranks from all around the world on a daily basis to reinforce and radicalise your views.”

“There’s also evidence that a group of people with diverse views will tend to gravitate towards the most extreme views in the group. And that people who believe one conspiracy theory tend to believe in and share many. And that cultivating outrage only promotes more animosity towards one’s perceived opponents and encourages greater retributive invective and bad faith”.

Many Facebook posts can be considered controversial and much like the spread of gossip in any community will generate a multitude of stories and participants, facts are not so exciting, controversy laced with emotion can be. It is not a new concept and existed long before Facebook. Whilst free speech should enable us to seek out the truth, more often than not I find if you do not agree with popular opinion, you are quickly vilified and ostracised by other free thinkers, based on my own personal experience. (I.e. politics at election time).

Australia’s Attorney General George Brandis describes this paradox where climate change activists dismiss and isolate deniers instead of inviting intellectual debate, “The great irony to this new “habit of mind”, [Brandis] says, is that the eco-correct think of themselves as enlightened and their critics as “throwbacks”, when actually “they themselves are the throwbacks, because they adopt this almost theological view, this cosmology that eliminates from consideration the possibility of an alternative opinion”. The moral straitjacketing of anyone who raises a critical peep about eco-orthodoxies is part of a growing “new secular public morality” this does not prove or disprove the activists’ or denier’s belief but how the imbalance has played out in the social media realm at a political level..

Until Facebook, if ever has some form of regulation, people copying the influencers behaviour unless it is asocial learning, are vulnerable and subject to conformity of the masses and may find themselves in a more hostile social media climate than the real one they were so concerned with in the first place.


1. Tandoc, E.C& Eng,N. (2017). Climate Change Communication on Facebook, Twitter, Sina Weibo, and Other Social Media Platforms. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. Doi               10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.361

2.  Laitner, J. De Canio, S. and Peters, I., (2011). The Social and Behavioural Aspects of     Climate Change: Linking Vulnerability, Adaptation and Mitigation. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, 3(1). Publisher NameSpringer, Dordrecht, Print ISBN978-0-7923-6802-1, ISBN978-0-306-48160-4

3. Mann, M (2019) Facebook is a big obstacle to averting climate catastrophe. climate-science-8bc80493ac7c/ (Accessed 4 April 2020)

4. Stover, D. 2019. Why Facebook, Youtube, And Twitter Are Bad For The Climate – Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists. [online] Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Available at: (Accessed 2 April 2020).

5. Swisher, K. 2018 Zuckerberg: The Recode interview. Vox:   kara-swisher

6. Katz, E. (1957). The two-step flow of communication: An up-to-date report on a hypothesis. Public Opinion Quarterly, 21, 61-78

7. Choi, S. (2015). The two-step flow of communication in Twitter based public forums, Social science Computer Review,33,696-711,doi:10.1177/0894439314556599

8. Nisbett, M.C.and Kotcher, J.E. (2009) A two step flow of influence? Science Communication, Volume30 issue 3, pages328-354, Jan 7, 2009: https://doi.org101177/10755447008328797

9. Kashima Y, Wilson,S. Lusher,D. Pearson LJ, Pearson, The Acquisition of perceived descriptive norms as social category learning in social networks. Social Networks: Volume 35, Issue 4, October 2013 p 711-719,   

10. https// the-Paris- Agreement-3         firms-social-media-fightback-against-climate- action8212275958aa21196dae3b76220bddc

11. Corry, O. and Jørgensen, D., (2015). Beyond ‘deniers’ and ‘believers’: Towards a map of        the politics of climate change. Global Environmental Change, [online] 32, pp.165-           174. Available at: <https://www-sciencedirect-> [Accessed 4            April 2020].

12.Lehr. J, Harris. (2018, Oct) How Al Gore built the Global warming Fraud: The Heartland Institute,

13. C.S. Taber, M. Lodge: (2006) Motivated skepticism in the evaluation of political beliefs Am. J.Pol. Sci., 50 (2006), pp. 755-769, 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2006.00214.xCrossRefView        Record in ScopusGoogle Scholar

14. Lutzke, L., Drummond, C., Slovic, P. and Árvai, J., 2019. Priming critical thinking: Simple interventions limit the influence of fake news about climate change on Facebook. Global Environmental Change, 58, p.101964

Additional References used

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Dean, T., (2019). Free Speech Has Failed Us. [online] THE ETHICS CENTRE. Available at: <> [Accessed 4 April 2020]. Brett, J., (2014). Must We Choose Between Climate-Change Action And Freedom Of Speech? [Online] The Monthly. Available at:>

21 replies on “The influence of Facebook on Climate Change (Truth or Lies ?)”

Hi Gerard!
There’s certainly a lot of misinformation spread on Facebook. It’s an interesting topic how that might be handled. What do you suggest is done to improve the situation?
In your abstract you mentioned that Facebook might implement “credible censorship of sensationalist ideas”, and I was hoping that might fix things. But by the time I got to your conclusion you’d been clear that some of these influencing drivers cannot be contained by any regulatory method at all. So where does that leave us? Maybe the misinformation environment is just to be accepted and lived with?

– Luke

Hi Luke
Thank you for your comments, yes it is a regulatory nightmare where freedom of speech seems to overrule any form of governance we might see in place on other forms of broadcast, you are correct in your observation, I highlighted what could be done but at this point in time there is no desire or commitment form any party including Face Book to impose any truly effective censorship or strong enough criteria to stop this issue.

Hi Gerard 🙂
I wonder, what strong criteria might be effective? Have you got any ideas from the governance of other forms of broadcast that could work, if Facebook desired to invest in that change?

I was looking at Wikipedia’s page requirements, the guides on what references are acceptable. If a rule of requiring reliable, published sources were carried across to all Facebook posts and automated, it would be very hard to post anything trivial about one’s day, like photos of being out at the park!
If the rule were just applied to links to websites and videos that’s a bit less restrictive, but so much user appreciated content passed around Facebook is just memes, music videos, vines etc.
It seems difficult to rid Facebook of pseudoscience content (leaving the good science) without banning most casual social posting too.


Hi Luke
Good questions, I think the criteria would need to be made of a source list that is somehow verified by a board that is independent of Facebook but can validate whether a publication on Facebook is opinion of the author only and states that or is based on a study, data or some other legitimate metric to substantiate where the information has come from.
Ultimately I do not think there is a truly effective way of getting rid of the pseudoscience and strong opinions as we hit the freedom speech rules in the path, it would be a field day for lawyers !

That sounds good, some sort of validating board, that isn’t trying to prevent misinformation being posted and only allow validated information – rather posts just earn a stamp of verification or not.
Maybe people could apply to have their posts assessed. I like it!
– Luke

I just ran into another alternative that seems already in practice!
AnnaMarie said in the comments of another paper that “Social media sites (TikTok and Facebook) […] give a disclaimer under any post mentioning Covid with a link to credible information”.

That’s a good one, Facebook providing verified information alongside any posts with keywords of contentious topics.

Have you seen this or did you know about it?

Hi Gerard,
I like your choice of topic – climate change is something that is very important for all of us.
I enjoyed your case studies. It was good to read about examples of situations that support your arguments. You have a great selection of sources for this, I liked reading about how Facebook has failed.
I probably wouldn’t have put new information about communities in the conclusion, but it was really interesting to read about what Dr Tim Dean said. This is very true – social media is both a good and a very, very bad thing.
Do you think the positives of social media in regards to climate change outweigh the bad?
What do you think about all the positive effects isolation is having on the environment eg the lower pollution levels around the planet? (unless I’ve been misinformed in thinking this)

Hi Anne Marie
Thank you for your feedback and questions, I thought Dr Tims observation whilst wide-ranging had relevance to the conundrum communities face on social media with sifting through the information we all read and opinions we are subjected to.
I would lean towards the benefits outweigh the negatives depending on the intended use of the platform, for me keeping in touch with relatives overseas and friends, contributing and sharing with my surfing community are things I really enjoy as well as the different special interest groups i.e movie fan pages, but when it comes to political, social and other community impacting issues I do not trust Facebook as a source of truth.
To your question on what I think iso has done in helping the planet, well my background over the last few years has been involvement with SurfRider Australia as a beach rep in Perth, so protecting beaches and oceans through clean ups and campaigns, my view is the reduced human movement and output has definitely reduced CO2 levels and water way traffic and the pollution that goes with it, so we might loose in the pandemic but the planet gets a breather in many ways literally.

Hi Gerard,

Thanks for posting such an interesting read.

Given the size of the climate change issue, I was surprised to read that the majority of information we have about climate change communication is based on tweets from Western countries. There is obviously a lot more research that needs to be done in that field. I was also surprised, and a little concerned, to discover that Facebook is one of the most popular sources of information on the topic of climate change. Do you know how those statistics were calculated and what they were compared against?

I see quite a few similarities with my paper when it comes to confirmation bias extending the reach of sensationalist content, and the question of governance on Facebook. The fact that Facebook can say “We don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true” (para. 10) is incredible and speaks to the urgent need to regulate what can be published on the social networking site to prevent the spread of misinformation and fake news. From my research, I can see that it is a highly complex area with no good solutions at the moment. Did you find any proposed solutions for regulation that could be effective?

Thanks again,

Hi Anna!
I’ve also been thinking about this, how a good solution might be found. If we just take that statement “We don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true” (para. 10), and imagine the opposite of that being true, what might that actually be like?
Facebook would need some way to judge the truth of things. Would it forbid casual posts about people’s day, because the Facebook algorithm or team of fact checkers cannot verify what someone says about their day at the office or park?
So that’s the roadblock for me too, seeing no good solutions that could plausibly eradicate the misinformation, but not everyday socializing. In trying and failing, Facebook would probably just drive everyone to a new platform with less restrictions.
The best idea I’ve got so far is to change people’s attitudes, instead of Facebook’s policies. To spread awareness that Facebook is not a reliable source of information.

– Luke

Interesting comments Luke! I had a bit of a daydream about what an accountable Facebook would look like 🙂 I know it’s a can of words but, believe it or not, I think it is achievable to make Facebook more accountable without making it so restrictive that most users would be inclined to look for an alternative platform for their every day activity. Although I suppose that if your motive was the intentional spread of misinformation, you might well start looking for a new platform to undertake that activity.

I agree that a change of attitude is also necessary, and that this issue needs to be addressed from the ground up. Education and awareness have important roles to play in combatting the spread of misinformation. Unfortunately, education takes time so we also need to find a solution that can have a more immediate effect.

It will be interesting to see how the debate around Facebook regulation progresses and if change can be made, or if it is just too hard.


Hi Anna

Thanks so much for reading and your feedback, I read multiple studies done by institutes such the the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (Europe) and the main one I referenced was a study undertaken by Nanyang Technological University Singapore, where the authors looked at responses to natural disasters and climate change news across social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter,Sina, Weibo and others, they looked at hits and comments and Facebook lead out in front statistically.
I looked at a number of scenarios with my own experience in contract reviews and risk analysis, but the complexity of Facebook being global and each country having it’s own censorship or lack of i.e China vs USA makes true management of information almost untenable.



Hi Gerard,

Engaging topic. It’s a tough situation for Facebook, and one which certainly didn’t cross the mind of Zuckerberg when he launched the site. I don’t envy his position in the slightest, knowing that whichever way he sways, there’ll be a crowd of skeptics ready to pounce on him for it. Zuckerberg has proven he thinks with his pocket, and if they were to become a curatorial platform it’s likely that those being affected would seek revenge by ‘cancellation’.

By bestowing the honour on employees to enact censorship, you’re relying on those employees to be completely apolitical, which I think would be difficult. Although science isn’t political, climate change has become a heavily politicised topic of discussion (unfortunately). It would be hard to manage quality assurance simply because of the sheer weight of information being posted to the platform every day. The same would be true for a company HQ’d in a predominantly red region who might attempt something similar.

Of course the only other solution I see at the moment is to build AI which instantly fact checks information across scientific databases, then scores it on a scale of ‘misinformation to factual’. But that might be some way off, unless they’re already testing such a thing.

I chuckle at the realisation that before the internet, a person may have been considered uninformed or stupid because they simply didn’t have access knowledge and information. That argument has certainly been disproven… Unfortunately, the internet is a market place where you profit from clicks, regardless of the legitimacy motivating the click.

In my own paper which subtly infers Facebook are the baddies I really tried hard to assert a neutral standing and let my arguments inform the conclusion. I see your bias to ‘Facebook being evil’ is similar to mine but comes across more overtly. Was this intentional and do you think I could’ve taken a similar tact or have we just approached it differently?


Hi Nic

Thankyou for your feedback. you make some good points, quite right with Climate Change being politicised as it is an opportunity for various agenda backers to gain vantage points through not only distorting the truth but inventing new “truths” so to speak.
On the basis of that, well observed, my discrete message is certainly ring fencing Facebook as the problem child in the whole debate, I think we have certainly both had the same thought process, in regards to your approach, no I say well done, just call it as you see it.



Hi Gerard,

I agree with your assertion that social media giants such as Facebook, at the core, are fundamentally driven by “numbers of users”. Because of that, I would surmise that censoring opinions would hurt their business model and drive away the golden goose!

In addition, that would also violate users’ right of freedom of speech and other rights.

Given that social networks are what they are, do you think regulation of speech really necessary? Or should it be a case of ignoring online rubbish as people do in the real world? Also, do you think that perhaps big business such the big oil companies should be prosecuted for supporting misinformation and promoting false counter-arguments on climate change on social media?

Thanks for publishing your thought-provoking research paper.


Hi again Bayayi!
I’m reading that it’s legally questionable whether it actually would violate users’ right of freedom of speech.
Courts (in America) have usually found that that the free speech parts of the First Amendment instead protect the social media providers, and their rights as editors to choose what is ‘broadcast’ on their medium.


– Luke

Hi Bayayi

Thank you so much for your comments, you are quite right on the violation of freedom of speech, this seems to be the grenade that gets thrown whenever censorship controls begin to get exercised however I do think some censorship needs to be enforced, as the content containing malicious speech seems to slip through the cracks, for example feminist Clementine Ford as openly stated she wants all men to die, there was no censorship despite complaints, but when someone criticizes immigration or certain other sensitive political issues I have seen them shut down very quickly. To add to that cyber bullying and body shaming etc need censorship, too many youth suicides and not enough action by social media to monitor this sort of thing is still an ongoing issue.
Your point on the oil companies being fined is quite justified, as it is misleading people and investors and allowign environmental destruction to continue unchecked because it has been marjekted well on these platforms.

Thanks again for reading.

kind regards


Hi Gerard,
I enjoyed reading your paper. You have backed up your argument well with a lot of research and examples. Just another disturbing facet of Facebook. Like Anna I was surprised that FB was so popular for finding information/discussions (whether true or not). Must admit I don’t go on any SNS much but still think of FB as posting pretty mundane stuff like “Just hung out the washing and found that none of my socks match.”

Reading all the comments it seems that the general consensus is big business drives SM just as it does the economy. Where it suits there is censorship (as you’ve exampled) but ultimately it all boils down to “clicks” regardless of content and when at the age of 35 and your net worth is $54.3 billion (March 2020) why would Zuckerberg even care enough to try and bring in any form of control over the authenticity of content? He must have studied politics too – make it look like you are trying to address the situation but do nothing.

You would think by now that with all the exposure of misinformation or “fake news” people would be more skeptical of what they read on SM but obviously not as I do recall, as you would, the fake photos that appeared during the terrible bushfires earlier this year which lead to a couple of my overseas friends ringing out of fear for what they thought was happening.

Thanks Gerard,

Hi Lee
Thank you so much for reading and your feedback, you are quite right and a great example of the bush fire images that panicked the world, my family had repeated calls from the UK, US and Canada as they had believed the whole country had almost burned down to sea level !
Not to say these were not terrible catastrophes but the fake media would have the world believe we had almost completely vanished, you are right re Zuckerbergs wealth, money talks I guess and that trumps social responsibility it seems.

kind regards


Hi Gerard,

I agree that the information on Facebook is not 100% accurate. There are a lot of misleading information as most of them are shared or re-post by the users instead of from professional sources.

You have included some photos as examples of fake news which makes your argument more supportive. Facebook allows users to post any type of post( most of them), but they didn’t check whether they are accurate or not which makes other people maybe be mislead by the fake news. I think that Facebook should work more on this aspect.


Hello Kenneth

Thankyou for reading my paper, yes I agree Facebook need to do more, I was even surprised when I came across the photos and background stories, it was a virtual Pandora’s box, it takes some of the fun out of Facebook like there is this dark side to the whole concept.



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