Pinterest is enforcing a new climate misinformation policy to combat any type of content that denies the existence or impact of climate change, or spreads false information about natural disasters or extreme weather events.
The company announced its decision on Wednesday as an expansion of its community guidelines on misinformation and disinformation.
Pinterest, a virtual pinboard where users look for inspiration on things like home decor, recipes, and gardening, is now the first major online platform to enforce a ban against climate change misinformation.
The platform notes an increasing interest from its users in leading a more sustainable lifestyle with searches for ‘zero waste lifestyle’ increasing by 64% in the past year.
The new policy will remove content that denies the human influence on climate change or the promotion of false information about climate change solutions. It’ll also take down posts that misrepresent scientific data to encourage mistrust in climate experts as well as content that spreads harmful information on public safety during emergencies.
Pinterest is also banning ads that promote conspiracy theories, misinformation, and disinformation related to climate change.
The company collaborated with the Climate Disinformation Coalition and the Conscious Advertising Network to develop its policy based on common misinformation themes that they notice across different media platforms.
“This bold move is an expansion of our broader misinformation guidelines, which we first developed in 2017 to address public health misinformation, and have since updated to address new and emerging issues as they come to the forefront,” Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s Head of Policy, said in a statement. “The expanded climate misinformation policy is yet another step in Pinterest’s journey to combat misinformation and create a safe space online.”
In 2017, Pinterest rolled out a policy that targeted health misinformation such as anti-vaccine content. They later banned political campaign ads in 2018, and weight-loss ads in 2021.
The announcement comes days after the release of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which warned that the world needs to enforce drastic changes over the next three years in order to try and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Last year, Google announced that it would no longer run ads that deny the existence and causes of climate change. But social media platforms still need to step up when it comes to combating climate change misinformation online. In November 2021, The Conscious Advertising Network wrote an open letter directed at Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest and Reddit, urging them to enforce policies against climate misinformation.
“Implement climate misinformation and disinformation policies and enforcement that extend to content, algorithms and advertising, similar to the robust Covid-19 policies that have been published over the last 18 months,” the letter read.