Facebook’s $1M Climate Misinformation Pledge Overshadowed by Big Oil Ad Revenue

September 16 2021

Facebook’s $1M Climate Misinformation Pledge Overshadowed by Big Oil Ad Revenue

Social media giant continues to receive millions from fossil fuel sector

Facebook’s announcement that it will step up efforts to combat climate misinformation on its platform neglects to deal with the oil and gas industry’s ads designed to promote the continued use of fossil fuels.

In August, InfluenceMap released research showing that 25 oil and gas sector organizations in the US spent $9.6 million on such ads in 2020. These ads were viewed more than 431 million times.

Since that report was released, ExxonMobil – the biggest spender on social issue, political or election ads among the organizations covered in the research – has spent a further $1.2 million.

That figure – from one company’s social issue ad spend on Facebook in just two months – demonstrates the imbalance between Big Oil’s lobbying efforts and Facebook’s $1 million grant program to combat disinformation.

InfluenceMap Program Manager Faye Holder said: “Facebook’s $1 million grant program to combat climate misinformation is a tiny fraction of how much money it makes from ads promoting the continued use of oil and gas products.

“The company often talks about its commitment to tackling climate change, but it continues to allow its platform to be used by the fossil fuel sector to undermine science-based climate action.

“Both the International Energy Agency and the IPCC have warned of the need to phase out the use of fossil fuels in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“There is little doubt that Big Oil’s targeted advertising on Facebook makes it harder for policymakers to take the bold steps needed to combat climate change.”

InfluenceMap has previously exposed instances of climate disinformation ads running on Facebook. But there’s limited evidence that the social media company has taken any decisive action in response to these findings.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Simon Cullen, Communications Manager, InfluenceMap (London)

E: simon.cullen ( @ ) influencemap.org