Report reveals that Oil and Gas companies spent $9.6 million for advertising fake facts, claims and initiatives on Facebook

The social media platform 'Facebook' has made a name for itself. The platform has existed since a long time yet still gives a tough competition to newer social platforms and has the largest number of users amongst all other social platforms. The most primary reason behind Facebook's success is its usability and the concept behind it, the platform makes it easy for people to socialize and share their life with others around them. While Facebook sure is a great platform that offers its users a ton of benefits, it does have a disadvantage and that is the spread of fake news and misinformation. Facebook is not the only social media that people use to spread fake news. Every social platform out there has a bunch of fake news, be it in posts or ads. Social media companies understand that their platforms sometimes are used to spread fake information. A recent example is that of COVID 19, where people got largely misinformed due to fake news on social platforms.

Facebook is one company that has been actively working on decreasing the spread of fake information on its platforms. Despite the company's hard work towards stopping the spread of fake information. Facebook recently was accused of failing to tackle the spread of large quantities of misleading energy-related claims on its platform.

The spread of misinformation that Facebook failed to tackle is about fake climate claims from big companies in the fossil fuel industry. A detailed report about this misinformation unveiled the situation. The report showed that oil and gas businesses along with lobby groups spent around 9.6 million dollars on Facebook advertisements in 2020. While the advertisements run by these businesses surely have a huge budget, their advertisements mostly spread misleading information and made climate claims that are unaligned with climate sciences. The report from InfluenceMap highlighted how the oil and gas sector promoted about 25 thousand of their Facebook posts, most of which contained fake news about the low carbon initiatives and strategies of different companies. These posts were made by the oil and gas sector so that they could make people feel like they are not damaging the environment, thus allowing them to continue easily. Oil and Gas companies collectively spent around 9.6 million dollars and were able to make these fake claims reach around 430 million people.

The advertisements by these companies didn't include the true environmental impact the sector had on the environment and instead contained baseless claims. Several advertisements included content that urged people to reduce their carbon footprint and made them think that rather than high emission businesses, an individual reducing their carbon footprint would have a greater impact on the environment.

The report also mentioned the names of the oil and gas companies that spent the most money on advertising, the top three included 'ExxonMobil' which spent more than $5 million, the 'American Petroleum Institute’ which spent more than $2.65 million and 'One Alaska' which spent more than $329,680.

Facebook while addressing the problem of these misleading advertisements said that they have taken serious action towards businesses and groups running pro fossil advertisements.

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