By Craig Davis, Craigslegztravels.com
It was eye-opening to learn that Facebook rejected a paid promotion for my travel story about a visit to the Athabasca glacier in the Canadian Rockies because the story makes reference to climate change.
Never mind that Canadian parks officials have documented a dramatic acceleration in the annual decline in mass of this important glacier corresponding to a rise in average temperatures over the past two decades.
Apparently, discussing facts pertaining to environmental concerns makes Facebook squeamish. Because the topic of climate change falls under the umbrella of 10 hot-button issues in Facebook’s recently updated advertising policies, in this case, “environmental politics.”
It’s a travesty that climate concerns are viewed as political.
Even as this past week more than 11,000 scientists from around the world joined in declaring that we are facing a climate emergency.
That their warnings are met with mostly deaf ears, led by a misguided president who formally pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, is why I am not optimistic meaningful measures will be taken to curb carbon emissions in time to save humanity — not to save the planet; it will be just fine with or without us.
Facebook, it seems, is more attuned to not ruffling feathers of climate change deniers and other selfish interests.
But if you’re a Russian bot intent on influencing our elections, come on down! Isn’t that right, Zuckerberg?
No curb on politicians’ claims
Facebook has actually altered its policy to make it easier for politicians to tout false claims in ads.
Here’s what Nick Clegg, Facebook VP of Global Affairs and Communications, said in a September speech in Washington:
“We rely on third-party fact-checkers to help reduce the spread of false news and other types of viral misinformation, like memes or manipulated photos and videos. We don’t believe, however, that it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny. That’s why Facebook exempts politicians from our third-party fact-checking program.”
Meanwhile, Facebook is tightening the screws on ads containing content related to the following topics: civil and social rights, crime, economy, education, environmental politics, guns, health, immigration, political values and governance, security and foreign policy.
Sorry, Facebook, I will not submit personal details such as driver’s license number or passport number to an entity that has shown to be unreliable in protecting customers’ information just to spend $20 to boost traffic to an informative travel article. Especially not when you don’t require advocacy groups that advertise to disclose details on their donors.