‘This group has a long history as a biased “goon squad” whose climate science claims are sloppy and weak…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) When it comes to expressing climate change skepticism, Facebook’s fact-checking “goon squad” is quick to label opinions as false information and have them shadow-banned—even if they’re from renowned climate scientists.
That’s the experience of Dr. Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow at both the CO2 Coalition and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Michaels appeared in a recent video with Fox News’s Marc Levin, host of the Life, Liberty & Levin television show.
In the interview, Michaels offered his expert opinion about the scientific-consensus belief that the Earth’s climate has increased one-degree since 1900. Michaels said he believed one-half of the one-degree increase was natural, and the other half was caused by man-made emissions of carbon dioxide.
But the seemingly non-controversial statement was labeled false by the Facebook fact-checking group Climate Feedback and the video was shadow-banned. It had 3 million views at the time.
In a follow-up brief rebutting Climate Feedback’s determination, Michaels notes that his opinion is not only science-based, but it’s shared by the extremely climate-friendly United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change .
What’s more, Michaels had taken Climate Feedback to task in 2019 and defeated the activist group for labeling an op-ed he wrote as false. The article highlighted the well-known inaccuracies of climate-change computer models.
After a detailed appeal, Facebook removed the label and implemented a policy of not fact-checking op-eds. But the Facebook censor group is now exploiting a loophole in that policy that does not explicitly include opinions expressed in videos.
“Climate Feedback is taking advantage of the lack of clarity in Facebook’s definition of ‘opinion’ that will not be subject to censorship. Why should spoken opinions about scientific judgment be censored when written ones are not?” said Dr. Caleb Rossiter, co-author of Michaels’ 2019 op-ed.
“As Dr. Michaels shows in the [rebuttal] brief, this group has a long history as a biased ‘goon squad’ whose climate science claims are sloppy and weak.”
Michaels also cites in his brief other prominent examples of skeptical opinions and sources being labeled as “false,” “misleading” and containing “outdated data.”
Michaels notes that the labels have been applied to conservative Dennis Prager’s popular PragerU video lectures, some of which include highly qualified scientists from the CO2 Coalition, such as MIT atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen and ecologist Patrick Moore, a founding member and former international leader of Greenpeace.