By Ailan Evans
Facebook announced a grant program Thursday to fund fact-checking groups combating the spread of “climate misinformation.”
The program is designed to provide Facebook users with accurate and reliable information on topics related to climate change, such as sea levels and global warming, Facebook announced. The company said it launched the initiative partly in response to an August report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that highlighted the negative impact humans have on the environment.
Fact-checking organizations will consult with climate scientists and researchers to identify and refute climate misinformation, according to the program’s description.
“Through our $1 million investment in this new grant program, we’ll invest in proposals that build alliances between fact-checkers, climate experts and other organizations to support projects that focus on combating climate misinformation,” Facebook said.
The program will offer grants up to $100,000 to fact-checking organizations certified by the International Fact-Checking Network, a unit of the Poynter Institute that partners with Facebook. Organizations will be chosen by an independent selection committee, and applications for the grants are only open to groups with a “demonstrated track record of detecting and refuting climate change misinformation,” according to the program’s description.
“Misinformation about climate change is a huge, interconnected problem, and solutions need to be equally large and interconnected,” said John Cook, a research fellow at Monash University and selection committee member.
The initiative comes as Facebook faces pressure from the White House and others over its response to perceived misinformation circulating on its platform. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week demanding information into Facebook’s content moderation policies and threatening regulation, while President Joe Biden declared the tech giant was “killing people” by not adequately policing content related to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Facebook also announced it will promote content from users that “raise awareness” of climate change and add new facts to its Climate Science Center, such as “the way scientists predict changes in climate patterns has proven to be reliable.”
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