April 7, 2022
The social media platform, Pinterest, is rolling out new guidelines prohibiting posts that it says contains misinformation about climate change, as it continues to grapple with curbing the spread of false and misleading information, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The social-media platform, where users post anything, from photos and links to recipes and home-decor ideas, said on Wednesday, April 6, that, going forward, it will remove content from users or advertisers that it deems as misinformation about the existence or impact of climate change.
Specifically, Pinterest is aiming to eliminate content that it says misrepresents scientific data; and false or misleading findings about public-safety emergencies, including natural disasters.
“For years, we’ve been working on our misinformation policy and defining what type of harmful content does not have a place on Pinterest,” said Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s head of Policy. “Harmful misinformation does not. It is not additive to a positive inspiring experience on the platform.”
Pinterest said it worked with the climate-change experts to develop the policy based on common misinformation themes they’ve seen across media platforms. It will use automated systems and moderators to take action on content that violates the new guidelines, Bromma said. Pinterest will allow users to flag content that will get reviewed as well, she said.
Pinterest, founded in 2010, first focused on photos when it launched. More recently, the company has been pivoting to a focus on video, commerce, and creators. Last year, it was the subject of takeover rumors. PayPal had been in talks to buy the company but ultimately backed off of a potential $40-billion-plus takeover after its shareholders balked.
The policy change at Pinterest follows a report earlier this week by climate experts tapped by the United Nations that found that countries must make major, rapid shifts away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy to meet the goals in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
An earlier report found that greenhouse-gas emissions due to human activity may have irreversibly changed the climate in some ways.
Pinterest joins other tech companies that have taken steps to limit the spread of false information on climate change.
Alphabet’s Google said last October that it would no longer allow digital ads bought on its platform to appear next to online content that denies climate change—a ban that will also apply to YouTube. Twitter launched a program last November that created hubs users can find under various tabs on its messaging platform.
Meta Platforms’ Facebook also added new guidelines in November that use fact-checking organizations to determine if climate-change content is false. If it is false, Facebook reduces its distribution so fewer people see it and applies warning labels to the posts.
Research contact: @WSJ