Climate misinfo on TikTok continues to spread
A roundup of the climate conversation across social media this week
Welcome to Climate Monitor, a weekly report on the digital strategies polluters and pro-Climate groups are using to shift public opinion and move legislation. We’ve examined political ad spending on social media platforms, as well as what’s trending on social media. Here’s what we found:
The League of Conservation Voters used new Facebook ads to “welcome” new members of Congress and tout their pro-climate positions
On Facebook, conservative posts continued to target the reliability of electric vehicles, while liberal pages railed against Big Oil’s record profits
Pro-climate, pro-environment posts received loads of engagement on Instagram last week
Climate misinformation on TikTok is spreading like wildfire, with a handful of conspiratorial anti-climate videos receiving millions of views last week
Digital Advertising Roundup
Facebook + Instagram advertising
For starters, here were the top 25 climate and energy-related advertisers on Facebook and Instagram last week:
After the plastics lobby, The League of Conservation Voters was the largest climate-related spender on Facebook and Instagram ads last week. The group spent heavily on a campaign “welcoming” new members of Congress and highlighting their pro-climate credentials.
Meanwhile, we noticed oil pipeline giant Enbridge launched a new greenwashing ad campaign last week, claiming to support #NetZero by 2050.
Google & YouTube Advertising
There were a few Google ad campaigns related to climate and energy issues last week that were archived according to the company’s political ad policies. Conservation MN Voter Center spent the most - $13,100 - pushing for the Minnesota state legislature to support the Governor’s plan for 100% clean energy. Their YouTube ads targeted users of all ages statewide, and they also ran on Facebook and Instagram (see above).
Elsewhere on Google platforms, we found Evergreen Collaborative / Evergreen Action spent $3,000 on Search ads urging the EPA to take more aggressive action on climate rules:
The only climate-related advertiser on Snapchat this year continues to be Patagonia, which has spent $2,223 on ads since January 1st.
What’s Trending on Social Media
How are climate and energy issues being discussed by Americans on social media? Here were the top-performing public posts (by # of interactions) related to climate and energy on Facebook last week:
Facebook engagement on climate and energy-related issues was way down last week, with all but one post receiving less than 10,000 likes, shares, and comments. The top-performing pro-climate post on Facebook came from Yale Climate 360 - which shared an article about microplastics.
That said, there were four major climate or energy-related stories that received some traction on Facebook and Instagram last week. On the right, (1) the fight over gas stoves and (2) right-wing efforts to discredit electric vehicles continued to generate some engagement. Additionally, (3) there was a drum beat of content from accounts like Judicial Watch attacking U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry, who has long been a target of conservative criticism.
On the Left, (4) progressive and climate advocate pages seethed over Big Oil’s record profits on the heels of last year's high gas prices:
Meanwhile, on Instagram, here were the top-performing feed posts (excluding Reels & stories) related to climate and energy last week:
While the vast majority of public Instagram posts about climate and energy were positive, one pair of posts from the popular right-wing account the Free Thought Project caught our eye. The group accused the entire environmental movement of being “a scam” using a carousel of square graphic posts:
Lastly, on TikTok, we’ve noticed an alarming amount of climate misinformation has been receiving millions of views.
This one calls climate change a fraud, this one with *8 million views* and this other one bizarrely mocks activist Greta Thunberg, this one says fossil fuels are irreplaceable, and this one featuring Joe Rogan says we should really be worried about “global cooling.”
Since a new report found that most teens learn about climate change from social media, this is a major problem.
The gas industry is under fire. It’s hiring Democratic politicians to help. (Washington Post, 2/2)
Meet the man fueling clean energy opposition in the Midwest (Heated, 2/9)
Oil company profits are at a record high. It won’t last. (Vox, 2/8)
That “News Story” on Climate Change You’re Reading Might Be a Greenwashing Ad Instead (BU Today, 2/6)
That’s it for this week! If you enjoyed reading this week’s issue, feel free to forward it to a friend or colleague.
Climate Monitor is a product of the Digital Climate Coalition + FWIW Media.
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