Climate Denial Flourishes on Facebook – Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Dr. Willie Soon; EE News reports that not only is heresy against IPCC approved scientific positions wildly popular, it is also producing a lot of revenue for the heretics.

Climate denial newspaper flourishes on Facebook

By Scott Waldman | 08/27/2021 05:32 AM EST

One of the most-viewed sites on Facebook in the last few months is a subscription page for a conservative media outlet that publishes climate denial.

The Epoch Times, a far-right newspaper that echoes anti-vaccine messages and promoted former President Trump’s false election claims, received 44.2 million views between April and June for a page that offers to sign up subscribers, according to a report released by Facebook last week.

That was 10th overall.

It’s a remarkable achievement for a media outlet that has been banned from advertising on Facebook for hiding its connection to ads that supported Trump’s candidacy. It also raises questions about how an outlet that spreads climate misinformation was able to reach millions of people through a social media platform that has voiced commitments against spreading false assertions about science.

The Epoch Times, which was founded by members of the Chinese spiritual group Falun Gong, pivoted hard toward conservative politics during the Trump administration. And while the paper had a history of objective climate coverage before then, it has become one of the larger media sources of climate denial.

That has been profitable for the paper, with revenues more than quadrupling during Trump’s presidency, public records show.

One recent piece, headlined “Study Finds Sun—Not CO2—May Be Behind Global Warming,” focused on a study by a researcher connected to the fossil fuel industry whose work has been debunked by climate scientists. The paper also ran articles about the dangers that renewable energy poses to the electricity grid.

The inclusion of a subscription page for The Epoch Times in the most-visited link section shows that “Facebook doesn’t engage in any type of governance that is even aligned with their own policies,” Grygiel said.

Since its shift into hard-right politics, The Epoch Times has flourished financially, public tax records show. The Epoch Times Association reported $15.5 million in revenue in 2019, $12.5 million in 2018, $8.1 million in 2017 and $3.9 million in 2016, public tax records show. The paper claims to publish in 22 languages in 36 countries.

The Facebook report suggests that the social media behemoth has helped fuel that rise.

The Epoch Times’ Facebook page has millions of followers and adds thousands of people every week. Its growth comes as the outlet has faced sanctions for deceptive pro-Trump ads.

Read more:

The study EE News is complaining about includes Dr. Willie Soon as one of its authors.

Facebook tried a half measure against Epoch Times, they banned Epoch Times advertisements in 2019, but Epoch Times flourished anyway.

Facebook might like to completely eject Epoch Times from their platform, for the crime of free speech about climate change and international politics. But what will happen to the substantial segment of their audience which mainly uses Facebook to follow Epoch Times?

Yet if Facebook does nothing, Facebook’s own supporters could boycott them. Thanks to Zuckerberg’s apparent foray into social engineering, Facebook whiners now expect Facebook to take an editorial position on views they don’t like – and will be bitterly disappointed if their demands are not met.

Keep squirming Facebook. You created this mess. If you had stayed true to your stated goal of promoting free expression, the whiners might still have complained, but most people would have respected your absolute commitment to the principle of free expression. Now your credibility as a free expression platform is in tatters, there is no easy path forward. No matter which option you choose, you lose – and deservedly so.


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