Pinterest is taking a stand against climate change misinformation, as it did with COVID-19 vaccine myths. And while Pinterest isn't really the first platform anyone thinks of when it comes to the spread of fake climate news, its stance could push other social media companies to be more aggressive.
The platform announced Wednesday that it's taking down false and misleading information related to climate change and conspiracy theories in both content and ads. That includes content that rejects the existence of climate change, the human influence on global warming and information that contradicts scientific consensus on the matter. Pinterest will also remove "harmful, false or misleading" content about public safety crises like extreme weather events.
Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s head of Policy, said the new policy expands on its current rules against public health misinformation, which were set in 2017.
"The expanded climate misinformation policy is yet another step in Pinterest’s journey to combat misinformation and create a safe space online,” Bromma said in a statement announcing the change.
Pinterest is the first big tech platform to take such a stance on climate change misinformation. The platform said the new policy comes as more people search for ways to lead a greener life, like "zero waste tips" and "recycling clothes ideas." If searches to lead a greener life are escalating on Pinterest, they are surely rising elsewhere, too. Google reported that the world collectively increased its searches on the impact of climate change last year, if that's any indication of how big the issue has become.
Other platforms haven't taken as strong of a stance against the spread of climate change misinformation. Meta-owned Facebook pledged to place labels on posts about climate change, but a recent report found that the platform fell short of its goals. The company has also praised its Climate Science Center to connect people with credible information about climate change, but few even know about it. Google stopped showing ads on YouTube that include false claims about climate change, but it hasn't explicitly banned content containing climate change misinformation. And even that effort hasn't stopped people from running ads questioning climate change.
Unlike other platforms, Pinterest's policy addresses both ads and content. The company is also working with the Climate Disinformation Coalition and the Conscious Advertising Network to help detect misinformation on various platforms, Pinterest said.