CLEARING THE PR POLLUTION THAT CLOUDS CLIMATE SCIENCE
Revealed: Most Popular Climate Story on Social Media Told Half a Million People the Science Was a Hoax
By Graham Readfearn • Tuesday, November 29, 2016 – 05:58
The most popular climate change story across social media in the past six months used a debunked survey from the late 1990s to claim that “tens of thousands of scientists” had declared global warming a “hoax”, a DeSmog analysis has found.
Published on YourNewsWire, the story was shared, clicked or “liked” 557,000 times on social media, with 555,000 of those engagements from Facebook. The story’s author worked for many years with UK conspiracy theorist David Icke.
DeSmog used the social media analytics tool BuzzSumo to find the most popular climate stories globally over the last six months, using the search term “climate change”.
The YourNewsWire story appears on a site mixed with stories about aliens, conspiracy theories, and anti-Clinton rhetoric together with some serious news. The story was shared on Facebook three times as much as the second most popular article, published by the LA Times.
The LA Times article, from November, reported the comments of California Governor Jerry Brown, who warned President-elect Donald Trump his state would not walk away from its climate change commitments.
Facebook’s Fake News Problem
The rise of so called “alternative” and “hyper partisan” news sites, often publishing faked or unverified content under sensational headlines with little to no journalistic rigour, has come into sharp focus after Trump’s election victory.
BuzzFeed News also used analysis from BuzzSumo to reveal that fake election stories were more popular on Facebook than articles produced by journalists on major outlets including the New York Times and NBC News.
As reported by BuzzFeed, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the company is working on ways to reduce the number of hoax stories appearing on news feeds.