Facebook Vowed to Stop Climate Change Misinformation – Then Suspended Greenpeace

An example of Greenpeace providing information to the public.

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Climate activists are furious that Facebook’s new misinformation algorithm backfired and banned all their friends.

Facebook suspends environmental groups despite vow to fight misinformation

Facebook blames mistake in system for restrictions on groups including Greenpeace USA

Oliver Milman@olliemilman
Tue 22 Sep 2020 17.30 AEST

Facebook has suspended the accounts of several environmental organizations less than a week after launching an initiative it said would counter a tide of misinformation over climate science on the platform.

Groups such as Greenpeace USA, Climate Hawks Vote and Rainforest Action Network were among those blocked from posting or sending messages on Facebook over the weekend. Activists say hundreds of other individual accounts linked to indigenous, climate and social justice groups were also suspended for an alleged “intellectual property rights violation”.

The suspended people and groups were all involved in a Facebook event from May last year that targeted KKR & Co, a US investment firm that is backing the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a 670km-long gas development being built in northern British Columbia, Canada.

Many of the accounts have now been restored, but a handful are still blocked, with no fuller explanation coming from Facebook.

The suspensions came just a few days after the social media giant said it was launching a “climate science information center” to counter widely shared but misleading posts that reject the established science of the climate crisis.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/22/facebook-climate-change-environment-groups-suspended

Clearly Facebook needs to add special exceptions to their climate misinformation algorithm, to prevent their system from accidentally blocking climate activists.

Google may have encountered a similar problem in 2017, when they apparently discovered applying an objective truth algorithm to climate studies frequently produced answers which did not align with the prejudices of google management.

Update (EW): Added a link to the 2017 post which described Google’s mishap with objective truth.

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David S
September 22, 2020 6:10 pm

They did the right thing.

Reply to  David S
September 22, 2020 7:14 pm

The “Ban the climate fraudsters” algorithm worked a lot better than they thought.

Reply to  David S
September 22, 2020 7:19 pm

Seriously, since when did Facebook employees become experts in climate and energy?

These people are largely Coders, with the occasional Artsie thrown in the mix. They know nothing about science, the scientific method, or the subjects they are attempting to “cancel”. Theirs is a fool’s errand, operated by uneducated imbeciles.

Old Cocky
September 23, 2020 12:48 am

A lot of programmers, especially older ones, have a strong undergrad Physics, Maths and Chemistry background thank you very much.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Old Cocky
September 23, 2020 4:03 am

None of them work for Facebook. They hire woke kids who code on Windows, Apple and Google platforms.

Reply to  Old Cocky
September 23, 2020 4:35 am

that may well be truth reckon it is;-)
the new nerds hired by mr z arent required to be good at much but doing as told and NOT questioning the bossman it appears from disgruntled staff
ZH ran an item about suchlike just last week
hes now controlling their inhouse chatroom/convos for upsetting content etc
they seem to beoblivious to the fact thats what THEY are doing to others as their job;-/

Jim Whelan
Reply to  ozspeaksup
September 23, 2020 8:43 am

I have my degree in Physics and then a career in software development. But when interviewing at some of the big tech firms I found that they are personality cults. All the tech guys who interviewed me were selling the honor of working for the bossman and went totally “gaa-gaa” over the times they actually saw HIM in person. Needless to say, I never worked for one of those firms.

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  Old Cocky
September 23, 2020 7:02 am

Maybe a number of former coal miners took Joe Biden’s advice and learned to code. Then they got jobs at Facebook by wearing black anarchist T-shirts to the interview. Just sayin’….

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Old Cocky
September 23, 2020 9:07 am

Cocky: Not much use in what is really going on in climate political science. Maybe a geological and meteorological education might help. Look at Jim Hansen of of NASA’s GISS alarm of 1988 in a speech to Congress. He told a journalist who interviewed him that the Eastside Hwy would be under water by 2000! He claimed he had been misquoted and meant 30 to 40yrs so we have to give him another 8 yrs for the Hudson to rise over 10 ft!

Oh activists gave it a lot of spin and a clip of Hansen talking about a couple of degrees warming this century (i.e. twentieth) would make it as hot as the Pliocene when sealevel was 25m higher!! This guy is a PhD astronomer, not a simple undergrad chem phys student.

September 23, 2020 7:58 am

They apparent have a Board of Censorers made up largely of members of groups tied to George Soros.

Reply to  David S
September 23, 2020 7:34 am

If it looks like a Nazi, swims like a Nazi, and quacks like a Nazi, then it probably is a duck.

Joel Snider
Reply to  David S
September 23, 2020 3:46 pm

I love the wording – ‘Facebook suspends environmental groups DESPITE vow to fight misinformation’

As if.

The hypocrisy is as blind as it is obvious.

September 22, 2020 6:33 pm

I’ve been reading a lot of stuff about how the AI algorithms have begun to focus themselves on generating clicks and revenue. It looks like Greenpeace is a has been. Nobody cares.

Racism is a hot topic because it generates strong emotions and lots of clicks. Maybe they should look for examples of Systemic Racism in the AI algorithms? Seems to be a bunch of it in there and that gets people going more than anything on the ground.

Reply to  Shoshin
September 23, 2020 4:39 am

story now about algos choosing white over black
babies pic etc
then they tried wih dog pics
same thing white dog pics over black
thats funny
even the AI algos are biased

David Lilley
Reply to  ozspeaksup
September 23, 2020 6:28 am

A guy who runs a prominent chess YouTube channel recently had his account suspended. His offence was to published an interview on YouTube with a top chess player in which a position on the chessboard was being discussed and it was stated that White was superior to Black. Evidently the AI algorithm identified this as racism.

William Abbott
September 22, 2020 6:35 pm

That is so funny. That’s a fact. Thanks for sharing.

Reply to  William Abbott
September 22, 2020 11:33 pm

I agree!

Stay safe and healthy, all.


Reply to  Bob Tisdale
September 23, 2020 3:55 am

+42 x 1042

Russ Wood
Reply to  David Middleton
September 23, 2020 6:35 am

Yep! Life, the Universe and Everything!

September 22, 2020 6:36 pm

Facebook probably does climate papers peer review as well as the established magazines do though.

Splitdog Homee
September 22, 2020 6:42 pm

“Facebook blames mistake in system for restrictions on groups including Greenpeace USA.” They should fire the coders for not testing first. You can not have software running willy-nilly.

Reply to  Splitdog Homee
September 22, 2020 10:32 pm

That sounds like a great idea.

“Gavin, Gavin! My office please.”

Bryan A
Reply to  Splitdog Homee
September 22, 2020 10:40 pm

Not willy-nilly, just functioning properly binning posts with Climate Change Misinformation

Reply to  Splitdog Homee
September 23, 2020 7:12 pm

No Spitdog.
The algorithm worked as it should do.
Dumping rubbish as 95 % of what Greenpeace publishes is wildly exaggerated and does not stand up to scrutiny.
95 % of the warmists play book is exaggerated to try and motivate the general population to modify their use of energy and to try and convince people that there is a problem .
I t is great that this has worked this way as it highlights that we are being fed a load of bollocks .
The problem is imaginary and so many people are becoming ill with worry because they believe the lies and exaggerations that are continually broadcast and published by a lot of mainstream media .

September 22, 2020 6:46 pm

The idea of a bureaucracy is to eliminate human foibles such that everyone is treated the same way. It doesn’t matter if you are green or purple or Orthodox or Tetrahedron, you will be treated the same way because the rules are rigidly enforced. The left thinks all we need are more laws and everything will be fine. What could possibly go wrong?

The problem is that it is impossible to write infallibly good rules. There are always unforeseen consequences. Also, clever people will find ways to game the rules. Google knows that and that’s why it keeps its ranking algorithms secret.

To Facebook, I say, there are some warnings you won’t heed until you actually step in the doggie doo.

David Blenkinsop
September 22, 2020 6:52 pm

Why the need for control, whether in the sense of “management weighing in on the facts”, or outright blocking/censoring people? Clearly Facebook’s goal, once they get it figured out, is to give groups like Greenpeace the edge over everyone else.

So what could be a joke is anything but funny, unfortunately.

Reply to  David Blenkinsop
September 22, 2020 7:44 pm

Indeed, the fact that they’re putting a “thumb on the scales” at all is disturbing… but hey, at least their “fact-checking” actually worked and censured the frauds. 🙂

Al Miller
September 22, 2020 6:52 pm

It sounds like it worked perfectly. Not that I would ever be so shallow as to support censorship, but pretty funny when it backfires and actually tells the real truth.

Gordon A. Dressler
September 22, 2020 7:00 pm

Attention Facebook programmers and IT specialists: you should study up on this thing called “the law of unintended consequences.”

It will help you in the future.

BTW, referencing the last sentence in the above boxed excerpts by Oliver Milman, there is no such thing as the “established science of the climate crisis”. The science behind “climate change” claims is not settled nor has it reached “consensus” status, let alone being established beyond a reasonable doubt.

Knowing this difference will also help you in the future.

David L. Hagen
September 22, 2020 7:02 pm

Will Facebook include evidence compiled in Climate Change Reconsidered?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  David L. Hagen
September 22, 2020 7:29 pm

The recent piece by Ross McKitrick on the use of RCP 8.5 is going to challenge their algorithms.

It merely points out that observations are running at the very bottom of all mooted scenarios. If they had a “plan” to block him out of spite for exposing the incompetence of say, Mann or Bradley, what are they going to do? Claim that RCP 8.5 has some usefulness and he can’t say it doesn’t?

It is very easy to be skeptical and point to facts, measurements and values. It is the vain imaginings and speculations of ignorant climate alarmists that are untenable.

Any truth seeking algorithm will flag as untrue most claims of “tipping points” and “unprecedented” hot days or acres burned. If Google knows it is untrue, if FB has access to historical data, the alarmist extremism is doomed by the algorithm.

September 22, 2020 7:10 pm

It didn’t backfire…it just worked. This is like a babylon bee article.

Reply to  Rick
September 22, 2020 7:31 pm

Kind of like when Biden loses in place on the teleprompter.

September 22, 2020 7:27 pm

So what is climate change misinformation and who decides?

Old Woman of the North
Reply to  Mike
September 22, 2020 9:05 pm

Any time someone says we can control it they are lying.

joe - the non climate scientist
Reply to  Mike
September 23, 2020 6:01 am

Anything against the gospel of climate science is blasmephy

Death to all satans of climate science

September 22, 2020 7:34 pm

Sounds as if it works perfectly.

John Karajas
September 22, 2020 7:41 pm

I wonder if Facebook also blocked the climate reporting of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

September 22, 2020 7:46 pm

Welcome to social media being used for political purposes. Once the Marxist understood their investment in MSM was jeopardized by the internet they looked to more fertile means of spreading their ideology. And found it.

Phillip Bratby
September 22, 2020 10:15 pm

“Established science”! Ha ha. When is science established?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
September 23, 2020 3:17 am

good point!

we know what problems “established religion” got us

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 23, 2020 7:15 am

Actually, the trial of Galileo was all about “settled science” and his treatment of the Pope.

David Brewer
Reply to  Kemaris
September 23, 2020 8:21 am

Lessons learned from Galileo, don’t be an insulting piece of trash to your employer. It tends to annoy your boss. Had little to do with science, “settled” or otherwise.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
September 23, 2020 3:19 pm

> “When is science established?”

When you get tenure.

Climate believer
September 22, 2020 11:05 pm

Can’t believe people still use FB, they’re just asking for trouble.

Ed Zuiderwijk
September 23, 2020 12:33 am

They finally have an objective alogorithm then they are tweaking it again. You just can’t make these things up.

September 23, 2020 12:36 am

So this is all about the message.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
September 23, 2020 1:16 am

The trouble with telling a lie is that you have to remember an incredible amount of supporting detail.
The truth however stands by itself.

James Bull
September 23, 2020 1:12 am

It’s terrible when the truth comes and bites you in the derriere!

James Bull

Mark Pawelek
September 23, 2020 1:43 am

Greenpeace have by lying about the environment for a very long time. Their business model depends on lies. They spend much of their income fund-raising, to gain more supporters, so they have more subscriptions, so more money. They lie to supporters to con them into subscribing.

Reply to  Mark Pawelek
September 23, 2020 6:26 am

Greenpeace has become embolden since they were able to declare in a Canadian Court they don’t have to present facts, they provide entertainment.
Evidently, the truth doesn’t generate the over 1 million USD they spend everyday. But, playwith the emotions of donors does.

Carl Friis-Hansen
September 23, 2020 1:47 am

…misleading posts that reject the established science…

Who is the establishment that has established the science?

It is so easy to run with your fellow sheep, ignoring the possibility that the leaders are wolfs in sheep clothes. – Baaah

Many or even most carrier politicians and Markxist Zuckermountains shamefully hide behind the conveniently anonymous word established, which reveals no responsible sources anyone can object to.

John Endicott
September 23, 2020 1:55 am

Groups such as Greenpeace USA, Climate Hawks Vote and Rainforest Action Network were among those blocked from posting or sending messages on Facebook over the weekend…. just a few days after the social media giant said it was launching a “climate science information center” to counter widely shared but misleading posts

Wow, for once Facebook came up with an algorithm that actually works. So what do they do?

Many of the accounts have now been restored,

guess all misinformation is equal but some misinformation is more equal than others. (with all due respect to George Orwell)

Reply to  John Endicott
September 23, 2020 7:39 am

Just give them more power. What could go wrong.

What is it that history has to repeat itself over and over again.

September 23, 2020 2:22 am

Haha some fun with the coffee thx!

Reply to  Josie
September 23, 2020 8:39 am

haha <3

September 23, 2020 2:54 am

It’s very much like the old saying, the reason people don’t leave Christianity is because they don’t read the bible. Or put another way, if you want to find the truth about Christianity, just diligently follow what it says to do.

Tim Spence
September 23, 2020 3:30 am

Could it be caused by the high percentage of photoshopped images?
Nevertheless, I would have imagined that ‘Greenpeace’ would be hard coded to not reject, surprising.

September 23, 2020 3:59 am

Don’t misunderestimate the Ministry of Truth.

September 23, 2020 4:14 am

The biter, bitten.


“Climate Power 2020 recently published a letter signed by former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, former presidential candidate Tom Steyer, and 13 leaders of groups working to ban the fossil fuels that are the source of over 80 percent of U.S. and world energy. The letter calls on Facebook to shut down the page of the CO2 Coalition of 55 climate scientists and energy economists, and to censor posts of its members studies and articles on other users’ pages.”

Facebook Must Stop The Spread Of Climate Misinformation

Who are Climate Power 2020? “Climate Power 2020 is an independently run project created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club.”

The prime mover is John Podesta, whose CAP receives funding from Facebook and from Zuckerberg and his wife separately, amongst many other billionaires and corporations, including, but not limited to the following: https://www.americanprogress.org/about/c3-our-supporters/
Sandler Foundation
Rockefeller Family Fund
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Google (Al Gore has been a senior adviser to Google since 2001)
The Joyce Foundation (President Obama was a director of the Joyce Foundation as Senator Obama)
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Microsoft Corporation
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Rockefeller Family Fund
Schwab Charitable Fund (World Economic Forum)

The Facebook Oversight Board:

Co-chair is Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Danish PM from 2011 to 2015. She was CEO of Save The Children International from 2016 until 2019 on a salary of £264,000 per year. Since 2019 she has been a Director of the major Danish wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas.

She is also a member of the board of the International Crisis Group, along with George Soros and his son Alexander. In addition she is a member of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, sister organization of the World Economic Forum, headed by Klaus Schwab, CAP donor.

September 23, 2020 4:46 am

Um…. what?????

Did I hear Obi wan Kenobi say something about a “disturbance in the farce”?

Hmmmm…. I started a project in 2013 that had cities in chaos and massive fires in the West, literally half the world set on fire, in 2019 — chaos everywhere. Something like Heinlein’s ‘Revolt in 2100″.

I was only off by one year. What in the blue-eyed world is going on here? I haven’t finished this thing yet, so it sits nice and tidy on my hard drive (and jump drives) . Does not yet appear anywhere on the net.

And now Greenpeace got bumped out of Facebook?????

Somebody please tell me what in the blue-eyed, blinkin’ world is going on?????

Reply to  Sara
September 23, 2020 5:25 am

One Rule to ring to them all and in the darkness bind them.
(Apologies to the memory of JRR Tolkein the genius).

Reply to  Sara
September 23, 2020 2:14 pm

I wonder if this will be a chink in their armor….?

Just Jenn
September 23, 2020 5:25 am

So…….FB is now a publisher…..that’s interesting. Guess that protection statute is now violated and they’ll be open to all sorts of litigation. This should be fun to watch!

Reply to  Just Jenn
September 23, 2020 2:13 pm

I was thinking about that, too, because if you publish a novel – which is fiction that may have a basis in the real world, as in “Moby Dick’ or “Tale of Two Cities” or “Doctor Zhivago”, or even pure fiction like “Red Planet’ – and its content doesn’t agree with FB’s ideology, and they refuse therefore to let you promote your product, they’ve opened a whole case of cans of worms for themselves.

This should be interesting.

Reply to  Sara
September 23, 2020 4:48 pm

None of it matters unless the people being censored actually do something about it. So far, they haven’t.

September 23, 2020 5:39 am

Calling the status of the current climate a “crisis” is alone unscientific.

September 23, 2020 5:50 am

The Misinformation Elitists have spoken.

Andy Pattullo
September 23, 2020 8:31 am

It is a painful realization, discovering the results of applying reason and logic to ones own belief system.

Ed Bo
September 23, 2020 10:20 am

“Facebook suspends environmental groups despite vow to fight misinformation”

I think they misspelled “because”.

September 23, 2020 11:09 am

Yet again exercising control over content – acting as a publisher – while continuing to claim they are a platform with the protections that come with that status.

When is someone actually going to do something about it? I see a lot of complaining but no action.

(And no, it can’t be me because I don’t use those platforms so have not been personally affected – no legal standing)

Reply to  TonyG
September 24, 2020 11:26 am

The SAME people who claim President Trump, or any elected official, can’t block others on TT will scream “FB is Zuck’s toy” “it’s a private entity” and “free market”, “suck it up” and “go elsewhere”.

Also: if a bakery can’t be forced to make a CUSTOM gay mariage cake (not the definition of bakery), when anyone LGBTQI can buy any cake on shelves, then a social network with a worldwide dominance can’t be expected to host user content (which is the definition of social network)…

September 24, 2020 11:48 am

If FB applied these key statements from the IPCC AR5 WGI Chapter 2 on extremes, as summarized by Roger Pielke Jr. (http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2013/10/coverage-of-extreme-events-in-ipcc-ar5.html), most media outlets would have to be shut out.

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