Pinterest has moved to ban all climate change denial and misinformation from its platform, with the aim of “cultivating a space that’s trusted and truthful,” a directive that traces back to the social media site’s efforts in 2017 to address misinformation on public health issues.
In addition to mandating the removal of all forms of climate denial, Pinterest’s new misinformation policy will “remove false and misleading content about climate change solutions that contradicts scientific consensus, content that misrepresents scientific data either by omission or cherry-picking in order to erode trust in climate science and experts, and harmful and misleading content about public safety emergencies including natural disasters and extreme weather events,” writes Tech Crunch.
The new guidelines will also apply to advertisers.
Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s head of policy, said in a statement that the expanded climate misinformation policy is another step in Pinterest’s journey to “create a safe space online.”
Tech Crunch says the policy changes follow “what Pinterest says has been an increase in user searches for topics related to sustainability and the environment.”
“Over the past year, searches for ‘zero waste tips’ increased by 6x, ‘recycling clothes ideas’ were up by 4x and searches for ‘recycled home décor’ were up 95%, while ‘zero waste lifestyle’ searches were up 64%.”
Pinterest’s move to protect the truth about the causes and consequences of the climate crisis isn’t the first time the platform has given science a serious boost. Following several years of blocking anti-vaccine content, and a full year ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, the site moved to limit vaccine-related search results to authoritative sources like the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Michael Khoo, co-chair of the U.S. Climate Disinformation Coalition, said the platform “has demonstrated great leadership by creating a community standard that includes a definition of climate misinformation, and we will continue to press all platforms for transparency and reporting on their actions.”