Twitter is rife with climate disinformation

This year, according to recent research, climate change deceptions on Twitter hit new heights. In addition to growing concerns over false information and objectionable content since Elon Musk’s takeover, there has been an alarming increase in content that disputes generally accepted climate science, also known as climate skepticism or denial.

According to data from City, the University of London for The Times, there have been more tweets and retweets featuring “climate-skeptic discourse” in 2022 than in any other year since Twitter started in 2006. This year, climate skeptics have posted 850,000 tweets or retweets, compared to 650,000 in 2021 and 220,000 in 2020.

The Times quoted climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe saying, “Climate denial on Twitter was already a trash fire; now it’s as if a liter of gasoline was poured on it.”

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A substantial percentage of the current growth in climate disinformation can be attributed to the hashtag “#climatescam.” According to academics Max Falkenberg and Andrea Baronchelli, it accounts for more than 40 percent of tweets supporting climate change this year. Before 2022, this proportion was merely 2%.

When people search for the hashtag on a social media platform, they are directed to bogus material regarding climate change.

One popular article states “manmade climate change” is “the made up calamity the globalists/socialists exploit to inculcate fear and guilt to tax, regulate, and destroy our freedoms while professing to be rescuing the planet.”

Another well-known joke that was uploaded with the hashtag #climatescam shows what looks to be an edited version of The Simpsons’ Ralph Wiggum with his finger in his nose. The meme stated, “The television told me that if I eat insects and pay the government more money, the weather will improve.”

The bulk of scientific evidence supports the concept that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels are what’s causing climate change. According to a major United Nations climate science report compiled by 230 scientists from 66 nations and published last year, human activity is primarily to blame for the worldwide increase in the frequency of extreme weather.

Nonetheless, as delegates from around the world convened in November for an important United Nations climate summit, Twitter was ablaze with misleading information about climate change.

The number of tweets using the hashtag #climatescam doubled from October to November, reaching 23,832 postings, according to The Verge. According to research by the Center for Countering Digital Hate for The New York Times, this represents a 17-fold increase over the hashtag’s typical monthly usage in 2021.

The majority of climate-related misinformation on Twitter appears to be distributed by repeat offenders. A quarter of the most recent widely shared climate-skeptic information originated from only ten Twitter accounts.

Musk’s decision to allow previously banned users to rejoin the site has also made it easy for people who push content that contradicts recognized climate science, according to Justine Caldwell of The Verge.

According to The Guardian, real climate experts and professionals are contemplating quitting Twitter since the social networking service does not sufficiently monitor harmful comments. Separately, the Center for Countering Digital Hate has detected a spike in hate speech on Twitter after Musk assumed control.