August 14, 2020

Warren, Carper, Whitehouse, Schatz Statement on Facebook's Response to their Inquiry on Deliberate Spread of Climate Disinformation on the Company's Social Media Platforms

Letter to Facebook (PDF) 

Facebook Response (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee and member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), member of the Environment and Public Works and Judiciary Committees; and Brian Schatz (D-Hawai'i), Chair of the Democratic Special Committee on the Climate Crisis and member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; released the following statement on Facebook's failure to stop the spread of climate disinformation on its platforms: 

"We asked Facebook leadership to close the loopholes that let climate disinformation spread on their platforms. Their response: we should trust them to make and follow their own rules and procedures, even if it results in the distortion of facts and the mass dissemination of falsehoods. The future of our planet is at stake, and there should be no company too big, too powerful, and too opaque to be held accountable for its role in the climate crisis. Facebook is no exception," said Senators Warren, Carper, Whitehouse and Schatz.

Fossil fuel companies and other large corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to lobby against robust climate action, and the Trump administration has reportedly worked to embed climate denial in scientific research, in addition to reversing more than 100 environmental safeguards. The devastation caused by the climate crisis will be disproportionately felt by communities of color, low-income communities, and other frontline communities that have already withstood the worst environmental injustices. 

Reports indicate that Facebook has created loopholes to allow the spread of disinformation about the climate crisis on its social media platform. Allowing the spread of climate disinformation on Facebook is inconsistent with the company's claims that it is "committed to fighting the spread of false news on Facebook and Instagram."