Just days ahead of Climate Week and after letting misinformation extensively thrive on its network, Facebook wants to brush some grimy dust off its platform and present a pro-science face to the world. The company is launching its very own information center for climate change because it says that the science behind rising global temperatures and environmental disasters is undeniable. The network, which has been notorious for enabling the spread of misinformation around climate change, said:
One of the biggest lessons we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is how powerful Facebook can be for connecting people to accurate, expert advice and information during a global crisis. Now, we are taking a similar approach to the climate crisis by launching a new Climate Science Information Center on Facebook to connect people to factual and up-to-date climate information.
Without knowing the company's track record, it would be easy to call this information center a commendable move. But a quick glance at Facebook's own conduct in the northern part of Oregon called Tierra Del Mar paints a decidedly different — and pretty ugly — picture.
R is for reflection — Earlier in August, reports emerged that Facebook was actively disrupting local life in Tierra Del Mar, where the company's massive undersea fiber optic cable project was initially taking place. There were strong complaints about noise pollution and the potential consequences of disrupting local bird life through heavy drilling. Facebook eventually abandoned the entire project, leaving its equipment on the Oregon coast seafloor, which undoubtedly affects marine life. According to The Oregonian, Facebook has left behind pipes up to 1,100 feet long and at least 6,500 gallons of drilling fluid.
For a company voicing support for a greener and healthier environment, Facebook would perhaps do better by cleaning up its act in Oregon.
Although the company says that its center will feature information from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Met Office, and others, Facebook has yet to reflect on its own record and perhaps admit that it was behaving less than ideal for locals in small towns.
It ended its self-congratulatory note saying, "We hope these efforts demonstrate that Facebook is committed to playing its part and helping to inspire real action in our community." Don't hold your breath.