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Facebook is vowing new steps to provide users with accurate climate change information and cut emissions, but activists say it's doing too little to confront the spread of false claims on its platform.

Driving the news: The social media giant on Tuesday announced launch of the "Climate Science Information Center."

  • It's a "dedicated space" on the platform with resources from organizations like the UN's climate science branch, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among others.
  • It will also provide posts from "relevant sources to highlight climate science news," Facebook said of the hub launching initially in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K., with other places to follow.

Why it matters: Facebook has come under fire from environmentalists and politicians, including the high-profile Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for allowing inaccurate information to circulate.

What they're saying: Facebook's announcement states that it's "committed to tackling" climate misinformation.

  • It noted that fact-checkers rate climate science content and apply warning labels about false info, and reduce the distribution of that content in its news feed.
  • Nick Clegg, Facebook's VP of global affairs, defended Facebook's practices that allow posts to remain on the site in comments to several outlets.
  • For instance, via Bloomberg, he said that it's a "mistaken view that the only and sustainable solution to bad information is removal."

The other side: Several environmental groups, in a joint statement, accused Facebook of only taking "half measures" on the topic.

  • "This new policy is a small step forward but does not address the larger climate disinformation crisis hiding in plain sight," said Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club and several others.

What's next: Facebook also announced a new goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2030 from its whole "value chain" — including "suppliers and other factors such as employee commuting and business travel."

  • The company said its direct operations will achieve net-zero emissions and be 100% "supported" by renewables as of this year.

Go deeper: Facebook unveils new climate initiative, but won't change policy on misinformation (NBC News)

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 22, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Breaking down the scale of Capitol Hill's climate and energy deal

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The COVID-19 relief and spending deal is Capitol Hill's "most significant action on climate and energy in over a decade," according to analysis from the Rhodium Group, an emissions research firm.

Why it matters: The package now heading for President Trump's signature would phase down a potent greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in air conditioning and refrigeration.

Dec 22, 2020 - Economy & Business

"Unreliable" news sources got more traction in 2020

Data: NewsGuard; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Unreliable news websites significantly increased their share of engagement among the top performing news sources on social media this year, according to a new analysis from NewsGuard provided to Axios.

Why it matters: Quality filters from Big Tech platforms didn’t stop inflammatory headlines from gaining lots of traction, especially from fringe-right sources.

Dec 22, 2020 - Economy & Business

Snapchat had its best year amid the pandemic

Illustration: Axios Visuals

Snapchat had its best year in 2020, adding 31 million daily active users and increasing its stock price from roughly $16 in January to more than $52 today. It also avoided most of the drama and regulatory scrutiny that its competitors faced around things like content moderation, bias, and privacy.

The big picture: The pandemic accelerated underlying trends favorable to Snap.

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