Pinterest ban on ‘climate misinformation’ sparks free speech fears Business

Social media website Pinterest has become the first company to ban “climate disinformation” from its platform in a crackdown on free speech online.

The site will no longer allow posts that oppose “the existence or impacts of climate change” or allow its users to question “well-established scientific consensus”.

Pinterest has confirmed that it will use machine learning technology to identify and remove posts that violate its new rules, raising fears of automated overreach.

Campaign group Big Brother Watch condemned the move, warning it would be “counterproductive” and encourage distrust of mainstream social media sites.

Mark Johnson of Big Brother Watch said: “Rather than using the brutal tool of censorship to shut down uncomfortable or distasteful views, platforms should strive to adopt rules that meet human rights standards. man.”

Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s chief policy officer, said the new rules would help it “combat misinformation and create a safe space online”.

Pinterest has approximately 430 million users worldwide. The site has taken a similar stance against what it calls public health misinformation, cracking down on users who post information questioning measures introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The social media site allows its users to curate images, typically of lifestyle and fashion items, and has become a popular destination for arts and crafts enthusiasts as well as the businesses that cater to them. .

The new ban on climate information will apply to user content as well as advertisements.

Pinterest’s largely automated content moderation relies on an artificial intelligence system that can identify text in images and rate content on so-called “boards”, groups of user posts.

Vishwakarma Singh, a top researcher at Pinterest, told news website VentureBeat last year that the system can prevent images from appearing in users’ search results as well as on their homepages.

Other social media sites halted before certain topics were banned altogether, after facing backlash from free speech campaigners.

Facebook, for example, allows users to post about controversial topics, but places tags and links around such posts to encourage readers to view site-approved information.

Similarly, Twitter adds text saying “misleading” or “stay informed” to objectionable content, but in most cases allows them to be posted.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-06 14:18:12

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