Big Tech and Climate
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All Four Big Tech Companies Are Major Purveyors Of Climate Misinformation:
- Amazon: Amazon’s algorithm promoted books declaring climate change was a hoax. Amazon.com’s main search function — the ‘Sort by: Featured’ display option, which is the default way Amazon filters its enormous catalog of products when customers go looking for something — gave prominent real estate to books that downplay or outright deny the reality of climate change. A report from the non-profit Advance Democracy found that 20% of the top 60 search results for "climate change" returned products containing 'misinformation about climate change."
- Apple: Apple does not allow users to report episodes in its Podcasts app for misinformation. A search of “climate change fake,” “climate change hoax,” and “climate scam” in the Podcasts app yielded episodes promoting climate misinformation. Additionally, one of the Top 100 Podcasts episodes on November 10, 2021 blatantly promoted climate misinformation in the title.
- Facebook: In 2021, climate misinformation increased 76.7% over the year before – viewed 1.36 million times a day. Studies found that 10 far-right publishers were responsible for nearly 70% of climate misinformation on Facebook. Facebook has declined to remove climate misinformation, as it does with vaccine and election misinfo. Instead, it set up a climate science webpage that is viewed substantially less than climate misinfo on the website. Additionally, in 2020, Facebook allowed oil and gas companies to run nearly 25,000 ads on its website – including ads that violated its own misinformation policies but were not taken down.
- Google: YouTube’s algorithm put equal weight on climate science videos and climate denial videos and continued to serve up new climate misinformation to those who viewed similar content. Though Google took steps in October 2021 to demonetize climate denial YouTube videos, it still allowed climate denial content if it was presented as “public discourse.”
Big Tech Funded Climate Denial Groups And Politicians That Opposed Climate Action:
- Amazon, Facebook, and Google all maintain federal PACs, and have given substantially to Republicans.
- Amazon, Apple, and Google are members of the Business Roundtable, which opposed climate action by opposing the Build Back Better Act.
- Google is a member of several right-wing organizations that oppose climate action, and, along with Amazon, sponsored the gala of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a climate denialist organization.
Big Tech Is Not As Good At Reducing Emissions As They Claim:
- Amazon and Google provided cloud computing and other web services to Big Oil & Gas companies. Google did not factor these emissions into its emissions calculations. In 2018, 12% of AWS sales went to oil & gas.
- Amazon rapidly expanded its data centers in Virginia, but in 2019, only 12% of these centers used renewable energy.
- Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max required 8% more emissions to manufacture than the iPhone 11.
- Additionally, Apple’s opposition to Right to Repair increased emissions and waste by making it harder to reuse technology.