Wall Street Journal pays for anti-EV Facebook ads
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 conservative Heritage Foundation and the gas lobby continue to run digital ads based on fear-mongering about the government coming to take our gas stoves
The Wall Street Journal has spent over $35,000 this year on Facebook ads attacking electric vehicles
Climate advocates launched new + notable digital ad campaigns in Texas and New Mexico
While conservative anti-climate posts generated lots of interest + interactions on Facebook last week, pro-climate posts outperformed the rest on Instagram.
Climate activists took to TikTok with the hashtag #StopWillow to criticize Pres. Biden’s decision to allow the Willow Project to move forward in Alaska
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Digital Advertising Roundup
Facebook + Instagram 👍
For starters, here were the top 25 climate and energy-related advertisers on Facebook and Instagram last week:
Climate advocates launched a host of new state and local campaigns on Facebook and Instagram last week. First is Save Texas, a campaign from the longtime environmental nonprofit Texas Campaign for the Environment. Save Texas’ ads rage against fossil fuel exporters in the Gulf and promote some of the group’s events:
Another pro-climate group running ads last week was Climate Disruption New Mexico, which is combining digital storytelling techniques with advertising to raise awareness of climate-caused disasters.
On the Right, the Florida Natural Gas Association continues to run ads from the “Save Our Stoves” Facebook page, spreading misinformation about federal confiscation of gas stoves while trying to build support for gas usage more generally. The group, which has spent $2,777 on these ads in the past week, is mostly targeting seniors in the Sunshine State.
Meanwhile, the conservative Heritage Action for America has just launched nearly identical “save our stoves” ads across the nation, and Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future is literally gaslighting us with these ads making the “climate case for more natural gas exports.”
… and one more campaign we identified last week was especially unusual – the Wall Street Journal has spent a not insignificant sum (over $35,000 since January) boosting an opinion article attacking electric vehicles. Legacy/mainstream outlets typically spend minor amounts of money promoting select articles for traffic, but this much $$$ behind an opinion piece is odd. And it’s more than they’ve spent promoting any other single opinion piece to date:
Google & YouTube 🎞️
Utility industry-backed Maine Affordable Energy spent $23,700 on YouTube ads fighting a public takeover of the state’s major electricity providers. It’s the latest volley in an expensive battle that will be decided by Maine voters this fall. Here’s a good explainer.
Another relevant advertiser on Google and YouTube last week was the Virginia League of Conservation Voters ($1,600), which continued its campaign targeting Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
There were no new climate or energy-related advertisers on Snapchat last week.
What’s Trending on Social Media
How are climate and energy issues being discussed by Americans on social media? Every week, we conduct a robust keyword search using CrowdTangle for general terms like “climate change,” “global warming,” “fossil fuels,” and over 30 more specific topics ( like “electric vehicles,” “gas stoves” and “pipelines”). Here were the 15 top-performing public posts (by # of interactions) related to climate and energy on Facebook last week:
According to CrowdTangle, around 15,000 public posts in the US mentioned climate and energy issues last week, and they received a cumulative 900,000 interactions.
The top post came from FreedomWorks, which referred to climate spending as “wasteful.” Another post was shared by FOX News highlighting the Biden admin’s “tax hikes on the fossil fuel industry.” At the same time, Glenn Beck claimed that there’s a secret climate scheme baked into the Inflation Reduction Act, and Kevin McCarthy showcased his party’s legislative agenda and eagerness to produce more fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, here were the top-performing feed posts (excluding Reels and Stories) related to climate and energy on Instagram last week:
On Instagram, 5,400 public feed posts mentioned climate or energy issues last week, generating more than 4,000,000 interactions.
Most of that engagement was generated by pro-climate posts, which were admittedly pretty generic last week. Several came from top accounts like @natgeo, @quentinquarantino, or @rocanews.
Lastly, on climate TikTok this week, activists took to the platform to criticize President Biden’s decision to move forward with the Willow Project, with statements like: “Biden just slapped young people in the face.”
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Want to go deeper? Here’s a quick roundup of news from the past week at the intersection of climate, digital strategy, and advocacy.
P.S. Are you signed up for Climate Nexus’ daily newsletter, Hot News? It’s a one-stop shop for everything you need to know in the climate and environmental policy space. Subscribe here>>
US podcaster promotes false claims about weather, climate change (AFP, 3/14)
Willow is not just an “environmentalist” concern (Heated, 3/15)
Lawsuit: Biden Willow approval violates NEPA (E&E, 3/15)
All the ways the most common bit of climate misinformation is wrong (Ars Tecnica, 3/15)
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. Tips/comments/questions? Email email@example.com